Rhode Island, Hasbro join forces

NEW YORK -- Rhode Island is known for many things but, until now, Mr. Potato Head probably wasn't one of them.

The state's division of tourism and its seven regional tourism organizations teamed up with Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro, maker of the Mr. Potato Head children's toy, to launch a travel promotion called "Rhode Island, the Birthplace of Fun."

The promotion, which was unveiled here, features a series of 6-foot-tall Mr. Potato Head statues that will be selectively positioned to welcome visitors to the state.

There's the Cash Potato, designed by Brent Bachelder to look like an ATM and slated to stand in Citizens Bank Plaza in Providence, and the Edgar Allan Poe-tato, which will grace the entrance of the Rhode Island Convention Center, also in Providence.

The division hopes to sell as many as 100 statues to businesses and tourist attractions across Rhode Island; more than 50 have been sold.

Each statue costs $3,500, according to David DePetrillo, director of the Rhode Island Tourism Division, who said that $1,000 goes to the artist who designed the statue, and a portion of the cost goes to local charities that provide meals to children.

The tourism division said Rhode Island businesses can sponsor a statue "to be part of [the state's] fastest-growing industry, tourism."

The division also is sponsoring a contest this summer in connection with the Mr. Potato Head promotion. Families who find three or more statues during their stay will be entered into a drawing and given a chance to win a "treasure chest" of Hasbro toys, according to a division spokesman.

More information about the promotion and a free Family Fun Vacation Pack are available from the tourism office.

Division of Tourism
Phone: (800) 507-6700

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