A potato chip eating contest, a potato sack race and a bake off are just a few activities at the 40th Annual Mantua Potato Festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Mantua.
The festivities will kick off Friday with a performance by Crestwood High School Choir at 6 p.m., a potato chip eating contest on Stage II at 8 p.m and a live performance by Sobo's from 8 to 11 p.m. on the main stage.
Events Saturday include a potato stomp at 8:30 a.m., a cornhole tournament at noon, a performance by Get Back Band from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., a french fry eating contest and a visit from Mantua favorites Charles "Big Chuck" Schodowski and "Lil' John" Rinaldi, late-night hosts from The Big Chuck and Lil John Show.
Rinaldi said it's been ten years since the duo performed at Mantua Potato Festival.
"We used to do the potato fest years ago," Rinaldi said. "It's been quite a while since we've done the festival, so it will be good to be back. We enjoy the Mantua area. Every time we've been there, people treat us very nice."
The Big Chuck and Lil' John show will start at 6 p.m. on the main stage.
"We do a lot of things," Rinaldi said. "We do a magic act. We do things for the young and old. A lot of it is audience participation. People get to be involved and interact with us. Our act runs about 30 minutes. There's always a few laughs. At the end, we walk around and sign autographs and do questions and answers."
After the show, stick around for karaoke on stage two from 7 to 10 p.m. and a first-time performance by Buffalo-based band, Black Widow.
"We give a high energy show,"said lead vocalist Lana Marie. "We do everything from classic to rock to dance to pop, country and blues."
Black Widow is formed by four of Buffalo's most applauded musicians, lead vocalist Lana Marie, guitarist Dustin Francis, drummer Joe Dehlinger and vocalist and bassist Nino Catanzaro.
"We have been playing together for 20 years this year," Marie said. "We're winners of more than 50 Buffalo Music Awards. We have gotten awards anywhere from the best rock band to the best female vocalist. The band has won best female vocalist ten years in a row. It's awards between the band, the guitarists, the singers. It's everything combined."
Marie said all the musicians bring their own talent to the stage.
"The guys are into different genres," Marie said. "Dustin, our guitarist, does blues and older music like The Beatles and Elvis and our bass player also does old music, but he's more into alternative and I sing rock and country."
Black Widow plays all the hits and encourages song requests from the audience.
"I listen to the radio and see what's popular and what people are listening to," Marie said. "If we get a lot of requests for a song we don't usually do, we learn it. We just try to stay up on things."
Marie said she has one goal on stage and that is to get the audience up and having the time of their life.
"We like to have fun," Marie said. "We want people to drink and dance and have fun with us. We're always moving around. We're not just standing up on the stage, we like to interact with the crowd and get them into the music."
Black Widow is looking forward to playing to a new crowd in Ohio.
"We love to travel," Marie said. "We're originally from Buffalo, but we play the outskirts. We want to try to branch out. We can't wait to play in Ohio and hopefully some people will enjoy us and we'll be asked to play again next year."
Black Widow will headline the festival from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday.
On Sunday, "the festival with a peel" will come to a close with a parade at 2 p.m., followed by Rivercity Band from 3 p.m. to 6 and a performance by Billy Starrett from 4 p.m. to close on the main stage.
For more information, call 330-274-0770 or visit mantuapotatofestival.com