"No small fries" at the Manhattan Potato Festival.

There’s something special about small-town festivals. They’re happy, wholesome, and always a bit, well, weird. The Manhattan Potato Festival (a.k.a., "Spud Fest") is no exception, and happens to be one of the best little festivals around. This celebration highlights the tight-knit community of Manhattan and a staple of its agriculture—you guessed it, potatoes.

At the festival, you’ll be more than just a spec-tater. Folks sport smiles and costumes while participating in a broad assortment of activities, from the parade to competitions and cook-outs. Along with the festival events, there are loads of other recreational opportunities to be had in the area. So be sure to check out some of the nearby rivers and trails, between eating potatoes and trying to dress up like one. Here’s a list of the highlight events, along with some of our favorite things to do in that neck of the woods.

Spud Fest Itinerary
There’s lots of family-friendly fun going on all day Saturday. A full list of events can be found here (or at the bottom of this page). This is just a sampling of the goods.

  • 6-10:30am (or until food runs out): Fireman’s Breakfast
  • 7:30am: Jim Oriet 5K Color Run
  • 11am: Main Street Potato Fest Parade
  • 9am-3pm: Arts, crafts & food vendors at Railroad Park
  • 9am-3pm: Kids' activities at Altenbrand Park

Finish off the evening at Amsterdam Pasture Drive-In with lawnmower races, family hoedown, and a movie starting at 5pm.

Outdoor-Recreation Itinerary
Just down the road from Manhattan is the Gallatin Forks FAS, which is a great place to put in and hit the river for a float—talk about a tuber! You can take it all the way down to the Missouri if you’d like.

Headwaters State Park offers a plethora of activities. The nice, flat trails provide for some great hiking, biking, and local history. Several good swimming holes are just a short walk from the parking lot. The area also hosts one of the most diverse bird populations in the region, so be sure to bring binoculars.

More nearby fun can be had at the Four Corners FAS on the Gallatin (which is, strangely, not anywhere near Four Corners, but rather just east of Manhattan). Here you’ll find deep holes that are great for fishing or a quick dip to cool off from the hot August sun.

Another place to celebrate Montana heritage is Madison Buffalo Jump State Park. This is a great spot to take in the vast Montana countryside. Careful not to get too close to the cliffs, lest you end up like the bison of old.

Manhattan Potato Festival Schedule

These kinds of events don't just pop out of nowhere—they come about through hard work and generous local support. Special thanks to all the volunteers for helping put on the festival this year. And thanks to two of the event's best supporters: AmeriMont Real Estate and Manhattan Bank for continued participation. Say hello if you see them around.