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‘Big Potato’ war breaks out over landmark

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A tribute to the ‘Big Potato’ in Xylofagou, Famagusta has locals up in arms after the village’s homage went viral on social media, attracting unflattering comments about the odd-looking eyesore.

Most critics say the four-metre-tall object looks nothing like a potato but a giant sex toy or worse.

According to the website Philenews, the local council received dozens of complaints from angry Xylofagou residents, demanding the potato statue be brought down, as it defames the village.

Proud locals feel offended, as they feel their village has become a laughingstock throughout Cyprus and is ridiculed with scathing comments, even of a sexist nature, on social media.

Commenting on the harsh criticism from both residents and social media over the four-meter-high potato, the local community leader, George (Kokos) Tasou, advised people to be patient until the project progresses and its final shape comes to light.

Meanwhile, some councillors are unhappy with reports saying the ‘Big Potato’ will cost the community €15,000 rather than the €8,000 originally announced.

Local Xylofagou councillors have called an urgent meeting for Thursday to demand explanations from Tasou.

Philenews quoted Tasou apologizing for calling the project a “monument”, arguing that it was a slip of the tongue.

“Potatoes do not have the same stature as heroes, for us to build a ‘monument’ for them.”

The potato sculpture is built to pay homage to the main product of the ‘red soil’ villages in the area, ahead of the ‘Potato Festival’ to be held in the coming weeks.

“I wanted this potato to become a point of reference in the community, and I am glad as the defamation taking place is actually the best advertisement for us.

“I am sure that all those who criticize the work will come here to be photographed with the potato,” said Tasou.

He said the idea of creating a homage to Xylofagou’s most famous expert, its potatoes, came after seeing the Big Fish monument in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Asked about the potato’s unusually long shape, Tasou said it is built in the image of the elongated Spunta (seed potato), which is common in the area and not the regular potato.

In his comments to Philenews, the Xylofagou community leader said a large road sign pointing tourists in the direction of the ‘Big Potato’ will be placed.

Tasou said his ambitions for the international promotion of Xylofagou does not stop at the Big Potato.

“In 2022, if conditions allow, we will organize an event during which 800 kg of potatoes will be fried, to put the village in the Guinness book of records.