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Boiling issues put location of Idaho Potato Drop in doubt

The drop may not be held at the Capitol for the second year in a row, after tensions flared between event organizers and the city of Boise's event planning team.

The ninth annual Idaho Potato Drop may not be held at Boise's Capitol Mall for a second year in a row, after tensions flared Wednesday between event organizers and the city of Boise's event planning team. 

Dylan Cline, founder and CEO of the Idaho Potato Drop, abruptly left a meeting with the city of Boise's Special Events Team during a tense discussion over the details of this year's event, the Idaho Press reports.

"You know what, I think we’re good here," Cline said before walking out of the meeting at Boise City Hall. "I think we’re going to move it out to Nampa." 

The Idaho Potato Drop involves live shows, food and the dropping of a giant potato to ring in the new year — Idaho's version of New York's Time Square Ball. Last year's drop was held virtually and streamed from Nampa, due to coronavirus safety concerns. Organizers planned to hold the this year's event at its usual location, Cecil D. Andrus Park outside the Statehouse, but that's now up in the air. 

Cline along with Sandi Nahas, co-executive and organizer of the Potato Drop, on Wednesday clashed with Boise's Special Events Team, which is responsible for ensuring events meet city permitting requirements. When committee members pressed the organizers for an estimated head-count, Cline and Nahas responded they didn't have one because they don't sell tickets. One committee member brought up past complaints from neighboring businesses and offices.

That's when Cline interjected, saying, "It's obvious that nobody appreciates what we do here," followed by some other choice words. 

After Cline left the meeting, Maria Weeg, the city's director of community engagement, told Nahas that she and Cline should "take a beat" and think about whether they want to hold the event in Boise. 

"If you'd like to have the event in Boise, in front of the Capital, as you’ve done in years in the past, we’re happy to work with you on that," Weeg said. "Just know that everybody around the table is interested in having really good events for the community and really safe events for the community, and that’s why we’re dialing-in on these certain issues. It’s not to be punitive in any way."

Cline later told the Idaho Press that Wednesday's flare-up was a culmination of frustrations with the event planning process in Boise. He noted that he's "fond of" and has "worked well with" city officials over the event's nine years. 

"They've all got a job to do," he said. "I know that things can get a little frustrating and heated in the event world, because events are so fluid."

Cline is still unsure where the event will be held this year. Planning is underway in Nampa as well as Boise, he said. 

"Sandi and I, our hearts are altruistic, and all we want to do is put on a world-class event that not only showcases the best of Idaho but brings us together as a community, and hopefully does some healing for our community," Cline said. 

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