Chips All Around 
In a display of pagentry celebrating the 160th anniversary of the invention of the potato chip, reenactors converged on Saratoga Springs, New York, birthplace of the ubiquitous snack food. According to legend, Chef George Crum created the snack out of spite, having overcooked and oversalted thinly sliced potatoes ordered by a troublesome customer.

Robert Crum, who claims to be a decendant of the famous chef, portrayed the harried hash-slinger at this year's Crum Days reenactment event. "People are finally giving the chip some of the recognition it deserves," notes Crum. "We have potato slicing races, potato slice frying races, fried potato slice salting races ... it's all amazingly competative."

Festival organizers deny that the event is nothing more than an excuse to get thousands of people to spend a weekend preparing "kettle style" potato chips for little or no compensation. The hundreds of pounds of potato chips generated in the course of the competitions "are donated to charitable organizations around east-central New York state," according to publicist Nigel Crum, who insists he is no relation.

Each year, the town builds a replica of the original Moon's Lake House, the restaurant where the potato chip was first made, to serve as headquarters for the festivities. For reasons no one has been able to fully explain, the replica manages to catch fire toward the end of the weekend and ends up burnt to the ground. "It's all very traditional, really," says Alice Crum (no relation), "The original Moon's Lake House never could stay standing for very long, no matter who rebuilt it."

Festivities are expected to wrap up tomorrow evening with a traditional s'mores party, celebrating another traditional snack food that may or may not have been created by George Crum.

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