World's largest 'potato' to make Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day parade debut
Organizers of Pittsburgh's St. Patrick's Day Parade booked the world's largest potato for Saturday's event Downtown, but forgot the corned beef and cabbage.
The Big Idaho Potato Truck hauling a six-ton potato sculpture will appear for the first time in Pittsburgh and participate in the parade, according to parade Chairman Mac McCafferty.
“Nothing says Ireland like a potato,” he said Tuesday after receiving a proclamation from Pittsburgh City Council. “I saw it online, and thought, ‘I need this thing for our parade.' ... They told me 12 cities applied, including all the big ones — New York, Chicago, Boston — and they decided to come to Pittsburgh.”
McCafferty said he would consider corn beef and cabbage, two other entrees in a traditional Irish meal, for future parades.
“Next year, maybe,” he said. “I have to hit the whole recipe there.”
The Idaho Potato Commission had the giant spud built as part of a one-year campaign in 2012 to celebrate the organization's 75th anniversary. It has since used it as a promotion for Idaho potatoes.
Made of steel, concrete and plywood, the sculpture weighs 12,130 pounds and is 28 feet long, 12 feet wide and 11.5 feet high. A semi-truck pulls it. The largest potato ever grown, by comparison, weighed 11 pounds, according to the commission.
Dedicated to the memory of the late Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, the parade will start at 10 a.m. at Liberty Avenue and 11th Street and run along Grant Street to the Boulevard of the Allies and along the boulevard to Stanwix Street.
It will feature 22,000 participants, 200 marching units, floats and groups representing ethnic heritage, according to organizers. McCafferty said he hopes to recruit college bands attending NCAA Tournament games over the weekend at PPG Paints Arena.
City Council declared March 11-18 St. Patrick's Day Parade Week in the city.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, email@example.com or on Twitter @bobbauder.