Potato Festival – a Fairbanks affair

An unique Fairbanks formal event I am looking forward to each year is the Annual Potato Festival. Festival Fairbanks hosts this seven course dinner with wine service. The Midnight Sun Chef’s Association prepares this potato dinner that features local potatoes in every of its seven courses. The Pump House, a local historic must-see place, restaurant with saloon provides a great Alaska ambiente, perfect for a potato dinner. The potatoes are donated by the local growers who also attend the dinner in addition to the paying guests.

#travel Fairbanksan chefs posing at the Pump House
Group photo of the chefs
#travel Interior of the Pump House restaurant a historic place in Fairbanks, Alaska
Chef Louis Martinez, associate professor of Culinary Arts with students explaining the purple potato ice cream dessert they had prepared for the festival

It’s not all about eating potatoes

Yes, I love eating potatoes and hence grow various Alaska types of potatoes in our  yard. But for me it is not all about munching on my favorite starch. It’s more about fashion and style. The Potato Festival is one of the few opportunities for Fairbanks women to dress up as the dress code is Fairbanks Formal. So to speak, it is also a fashion event. The restaurant and walk to the cocktail bar in the Senator Saloon is runway. There is also live music, a silent auction, and door prizes. This fundraiser’s proceeds benefit the programs of Festival Fairbanks. One of their programs is the beautification of Fairbanks’ downtown.

#travel musisc at the Pump House restaurant a histroric place in Fairbanks, Alaska
Musicians and the cocktail wine table with waitress

The seven course dinner

Potato crepes with creamy potato slaw pulled pork
Potato leek pear soup garnished with crisp bacon
Beet root potato salad served in butter leaf
Seared halibut, roasted fingerling potato, pea shoot cucumber spaghetti, wasabi dressing
Grapefruit and mint sorbet with grapefruit confit
Sous-vide lamb served with butterball chipotle potato
Purple potato ice cream

Here are photos of some of the courses. Even tough I love purple potatoes – I use them for our traditional Christmas Eve potato salad dinner with Wieners – I never had thought one could make ice cream from them. 😉

#food great dinning setting with potato decoration Stylish table setting with red potato and German butterling potato
#food potato root salad on butter lettuce leaves Potato root salad on butter lettuce leaves
#food halibut plate with potato cabbage salad Halibut with cabbage potato salad and pulled pork pocket
#food purple potato ice cream with cookies Purple potato ice cream with round coconut cookie and oblong butter vanilla cookie

The Fairbanks Formal outfits

Now let’s come to the fashion part of the Potato Festival. Here are some of the Fairbanks Formal looks that caught my attention.

#styling stylish waitress
Who said you can’t style a uniform? This stylish waitress proves the contrary with her gorgeous statement necklace and modern hair do
#streetstyle two Fairbanks fashionistats
Young Fairbanks fashionistas doning Fairbanks streetstyle updressed to Fairbanks Formal. I love the LBD paired with edgy lace tights and brown shoes. Black shoes would be boring. I love the interesting layering and play with different structure in all neutrals with the perfect right pop of color showing under the denim shirt. This look is the perfect mix of casual and cute. <3

What I wore to the Potato Festival

You are wondering what I wore? Since there is also music and I went for a retro 40s inspired outfit that would fit the Fairbanks Formal dress code, but would also allow my husband and me to dance during the cocktail hour. Unfortunately, this time, the musicians did not play dance music. 🙁

#fashionover50 mature woman in 40s style dress
Abstract floral print dress in a 40s cut sewn by myself
#styleover50 mature woman in a peplum abstract floral print dress
Zoom-in on the self-made dress

When you happen to be in Fairbanks on the Potato Festival night, the event is worth going from both a gourmet and fashion standpoint. Unfortunately, one never gets to Fairbanks by plain accident since the breakdown of the Eastern Blog.

Do you attend local harvest festivals? Are they having a dress code? What do you wear to these events? Send me an email, I am curious.

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Photos: G. Kramm, N. Mölders

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