It's time to pick a team and take sides.
Not just whether you're rooting for blue-and-white (University at Buffalo Bulls) or red-and-black (San Diego State University Aztecs).
We're talking mashed or baked. Potatoes, that is.
Festivities associated with the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl are all about Idaho's most famous product.
This is the 17th year of the bowl game at Boise State University's Bronco Stadium, but just the third year that the Idaho Potato Commission has been the title sponsor. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, and it will air on ESPN.
About 27,000 tickets have been distributed so far, including donations, sponsor tickets and complementary tickets for players. Plenty of tickets remain available, according to Kevin MacDonald, bowl executive director. They are $20 to $50.
Even if you don't have a dog in this fight, event organizers hope you'll participate.
"It's put on by Idahoans, and it's a Boise event," said Aly Howell, coordinator of the pre-game and half-game shows.
The pre-game show will feature performances by youth dancers from Meridian's Echo School of Dance, and about 40 bagpipers and drummers from across Idaho who make up Idaho Firefighters Pipe & Drum Ensemble. The marching bands from San Diego State and Buffalo will each perform for four minutes in the pre-game show and seven minutes at halftime, Howell said.
Idaho Falls-based Idahoan Foods - the No. 1 mashed potato and potato casserole brand in the country - is the sponsor for festivities planned in Downtown Boise Friday and at BSU Saturday.
MASH BASH PARTY
5 to 8 p.m. Friday, outside on the Basque Block, 6th and Grove streets.
Santa arrives at 5:30 p.m.; Basque dancers perform at 6:30 p.m.; battle of the SDSU and Buffalo marching bands, cheerleaders and mascots at 7 p.m.
Don't worry, Aztec fans, there will be heaters to help you stay warm.
During the Mash Bash festivities on the Basque Block, mashed and baked potatoes will be served up by Life's Kitchen for a $2 donation. A tally will be kept on which is more popular.
One of the toppings available will be ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth's Green Chile Sauce. Schlereth will be on hand to announce the winner of Tatergeddon.
All of the proceeds will go to Life's Kitchen, which helps young adults build self-sufficiency and independence through life-skills training.
IDAHOAN YOUTH SKILLS COMBINE
8 to 11 a.m. Saturday.
About 100 11- and 12-year-olds will participate in football drills, including a 40-yard dash. The public is invited to observe the event at Caven-Williams Sports Complex at Boise State.
All participants will receive two tickets to the Potato Bowl; the fastest will be invited to participate in a race on the blue during a break in the game.
POTATO BOWL MERCHANDISE
Potato Bowl-related merchandise - T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, miniature helmets and beanies - will be available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the hotels where the teams are staying - Grove Hotel, 245 S. Capitol Blvd. and Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd, Garden City.
The merchandise also will be available at Bronco Stadium, and through the bowl website: www.famousidahopotatobowl.com
Katy Moeller: 377-6413