Hot Potato


The Idaho Potato Drop is the Best Way to Ring in the New Year

by Cody Evans, photos by Terry Welch

Shortly after Dylan Cline’s mother passed away, he found himself standing center stage in front of 40,000 people, celebrating his biggest accomplishment. He stared at the Idahoans that had come together in the near-freezing temperatures to celebrate the beginning of 2013. He took a deep breath and said, “Thank you all for believing in us and coming out to celebrate together. I am dedicating the Idaho® Potato Drop to my wonderful mother Kenya, who always stood behind me and supported whatever far-fetched or crazy ideas I had. Here’s to you, mom.”

He then blew a farewell kiss to his mother, and his fellow Idahoans responded by doing the same.

“You could literally feel the love and energy float across the Grove,” he said. “That moment was the most profound moment in my life.”

The Idaho Potato Drop is a fantastic New Year’s celebration known worldwide after just three years. The event takes place right outside the Capitol building on New Year’s Eve.

The event originated when Cline, founder and CEO of the Idaho Potato Drop, was at a friend’s house watching a documentary about the ball drop in Manhattan. He noticed that Boise didn’t have a central event to ring in the New Year, so he came up with the idea of dropping a potato from a crane as the clock struck midnight.

In the first year of the celebration, 40,000 people attended. Now, going onto its fourth year, KTVB has predicted 40,000- 60,000 people will be in attendance. Cline said that without the help of the community this event would not be so successful. He went through many meetings to even get the event approved by the city. However, funding for this free community celebration was by far the biggest hurdle Cline and his team had to jump through to be able to make the event possible. All of the sponsors for the event are local and dedicated to the success and development of Idaho.

Cline described what an amazing feeling it is to be a part of this fantastic celebration. It gives him great pride to watch the community come together and share in the New Year.

“I am so grateful for the wonderful people in our community who support dreamers like me,” he said.

The potato drop is not only making individual dreams come true, but also enhancing the city and state as a whole, by bringing every member of the Idaho community together and showing the world what memorable opportunities we have here.

In its fourth year the potato drop promises to be bigger and better than ever. Cline explained that the community has asked for an even more exciting show and the Potato Drop is hoping to respond in a huge way.

“You can only do so much with an average potato,” Cline said.

So they thought of this very creative way to spice up the event by lighting the potato up. There are a lot of eyes on the celebration from far and wide and after this year the Potato Drop is sure to be competing with other New Year’s celebrations around the globe.

This year they will be introducing the Glowtato. Cline described it as, “a new high tech Idaho® Potato that incorporates a high-powered LED lighting technology for a brighter, more dynamic high-energy display.”

To make this possible the organization needs the community’s support as this is a community-driven event. The Glowtato will cost roughly $60,000 to construct. Thanks to the Idaho Potato Commission, the main sponsor for the event, the Idaho Potato Drop is now left with just about $25,000- $30,000 to cover.

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