It just doesn’t get any more summery than an outdoor festival celebrating the season’s favorite produce, the tomato. Red, ripe, and juicy, this fruit (yes, fruit – not vegetable) takes center stage for a day of fun, food, and festivities on June 9, 2018, for downtown Jacksonville’s 34th annual Tomato Fest. The event promises tons of family fun in addition to a bounty of the star attraction; people travel from far and wide to get their hands on (and sink their teeth into) Jacksonville tomatoes.
Here’s just a sampling of what you can expect to see, do, hear, and taste!
- Tomato Eating Contest – Exactly what it sounds like, as local celebrities vie to become the champ. (There’s also a separate contest for kids.)
- Tomato Peeling Contest – The catch? You have to peel with your teeth.
- Best Homegrown Tomato Contest – See how your garden’s star stacks up to other prize tomatoes.
- Tomato Shoot – Literally aim to win.
- Salsa Contest – Enter your favorite tomato-based concoction in one of the three salsa categories: Poetically Pico, Mildly Mannered, Magnificently Medium, and Hallelujah Hot.
- Chili’s Street Dance – Live entertainment featuring Lady Chazz & the Tramps and the Brian Chance Band kicks off at 7 p.m.
If you want even more to get excited about, how about a talent show, a petting zoo, a health screening, a farmers’ market, a kids’ zone, a car show, arts and crafts, and fried green tomatoes? (That’s not even all there is, but you get the point.)
While the festival itself is on Saturday, June 9, the tomato-centric action starts early, kicking off with the Tomato 5K run on June 2 and followed by a dodgeball tournament on June 4 and 5, a Tomato Fest gospel concert on June 6, a Tomato Fest farm-to-table event on June 7, a Tomato Fest soccer tournament on June 8 and 9, and much more! Nobody celebrates the humble tomato the way Jacksonville does.
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