KEENE — There are only two rutabaga festivals that happen each year in the US — one in Cumberland, Wisconsin and the other in Keene.
“And we’re proud of it,” said Thomas Both, an organizer of the Great Adirondack Rutabaga Festival that will take place at Marcy Field from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 5.
“This is just a great event for the area,” Both said. “We’re trying to promote health and re-introduce people to something that used to be a staple here.”
According to farmersalmanac.com, Rutabagas, sometimes called yellow turnips, is a “jumbo” root vegetable originally cultivated as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It remains a popular staple food
in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, “where the long winters are ideal for growing root vegetables, and not much else.” Sounds like a good fit for the Adirondacks.
During the Adirondack Rutabaga Festival there will be demonstrations of innovative rutabaga creations by chefs from Generations Restaurant, Mirror Lake Inn, Baxter Mountain Tavern and others. Both said there will be everything from “rutabaga maple soup, to rutabaga risotto,” with plenty of samples for all.
“It’s incredible what some of these chefs can do with a rutabaga,” he went on.
And to keep in the spirit of healthy living, the rutabaga festival will kick off with the 5k Rutabaga Run at 9 a.m. Registrations will be held on site at 8:15 a.m. and pre-registrations is available at the Keene town Hall or online at www.active.com.
“We had about sixty runners last year, and it’s looking like we’re going to have a lot more than that this year,” Both said. “It’s a great run on a flat and fairly easy course.”
After the run all are eligible to enter the Rutabaga Competition with prizes for the largest, most unique and best decorated “Mr. ‘Baga Head,” according to Both.
“Another new thing this year is the ‘fetch-a-’baga’ competition for dogs,” Both said, explaining that talented canine attendees can be entered to retrieve the unique vegetable.
The day’s events also include the High Peaks Hula Hoop Championship at 10:30 a.m., and Coronation of the Rutabaga King and Queen at 12:30 p.m.
Entries for the rutabaga competition must be delivered for display and judging by 10 a.m.
The Festival is sponsored by the Town of Keene, the Adirondack Farmers’ Market Cooperative and Adirondack Harvest, who, along with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, will have a table and displays set up during the event.
For more information call 518-962-4810 or visit www.adirondackharvest.com.