Spud Missile

Spud Missile

Six-ton potato sculpture makes brief stop next to Pasadena’s Fork in the Road

By André Coleman 10/18/2012

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Last week, history was made when the colossal Space Shuttle Endeavour inched along the streets of Los Angeles en route to its final home at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, near USC.
 
On Tuesday, Southern California was the site of yet another history-making giant object, this one a six-ton fake spud — small potatoes compared to the 80-ton shuttle — being hauled into Pasadena on a flat-bed truck to help promote food services for the needy.
 
The amazingly lifelike 28-foot-long faux-tuber is the product of the Idaho Potato Commission, which approved a stop in Pasadena as part of the potato-state commission’s 75th anniversary celebration.
 
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the realistic sculpture, which is making appearances around the country, parked alongside another area art icon, the Fork in the Road, an 18-foot tall sculpture of a silver fork standing upright in the median that separates Pasadena and St. John avenues at Bellefontaine Street in West Pasadena.
 
The Idaho Potato Commission is using the tour to help promote Meals on Wheels, a nonprofit group that provides meals to seniors and homebound people who are unable to prepare their own food, the American Heart Association and Put the Fork in Hunger, a local charity started by Pasadena real estate broker Philip Coombs to help needy families. 
 
Donations were encouraged while the potato was in town from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, and the Put the Fork in Hunger group, formed by Coombs’ Fork in the Road Gang, will hold a food drive on Nov. 10 and 11 at that location, near Huntington Hospital.
 
The guerilla Fork in the Road installation was unveiled around this time in 2009. Last year, the charity collected more than five tons of food.
 
“We want to break our own record this year,” Coombs told the Weekly. “We need volunteers and all-non perishable food items. We are ready to go.”
 
According to the Idaho Potato Commission, a spud that large would take about 10,000 years to grow. Then it would take almost two years to bake. But after that, it could be turned into more than 30,000 servings of mashed potatoes and 1.4 million average size French fries.
 
“Seeing how the space shuttle has already gone through, I would not call it a potato,” Coombs said. “I would call it a spud missile.”

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