Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Who cares! We love it all the same. The annual fabulous tomato festival will converge in East Nashville beginning this evening, August 12 and running through Saturday, August 13.
Called the “Uniter, not a divider … Bringing Together Fruits and Vegetables,” the Tomato Art Fest is a FREE costume-friendly event for all ages that began in 2004. The festival features tomato-inspired art, local music, vendors, kids activities, shopping, and food trucks.
As an East Nashvillian myself, it gives me a sense of pride about where I live. While costumes aren’t required, you’ll see a sea of green and red tomorrow whether running the East Nashville Tomato 5K or participating in the parade/float. It’s a day to go all out in your outfit and plan accordingly with your friends. Decorate your face, design your own outfit or better yet, paint your whole body as a tomato.
I’ve been to the festival a number of times as both a vendor and as an attendee. To see it grow more and more each year is truly incredible. It has grown so much that parking even seems to be an issue. Take my advice as a local East Nashvillian, grab the first spot you see. In previous years, I’ve lucked up in getting a spot on 10th Avenue near Shelby or on Fatherland near East Park. Regardless, be prepared to hoof it. Check out this year’s festival map.
So to provide you with some fun details, I polled some neighbors to get their take on what to do at Tomato Art Fest.
As my neighbors sip their Bloody Marys on their front porches tomorrow, you get the inside scoop of the new, entertaining and family filled festivities not to miss:
Friday, August 12
The Tomato Art Preview Party at Art & Invention Gallery
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Get your signature tomato art piece before the long lines appear on Saturday, or your favorite may well be gone.
Xfinity Main Stage
Enjoy live music, food trucks, cash bar, live art and games. OR go to Tomato Art Fest in style as a V.I.T. (Very Important Tomato). Being a V.I.T. may come with a price ($75/Adult; $25/Children 5 and under), but it does have some perks, such as snacks, drinks, PRIVATE RESTROOMS, private bar, and – most importantly – shade. I’d say the private restrooms would entice me to buy, if I didn’t live less than a mile away.
Performing live on the stage tonight:
9:00pm Jeffrey James
8:15pm Elise Davis
7:00pm Becca Mancari
Saturday, August 13
East Nashville Tomato 5K
Rise and shine, it’s Tomato Day! Get your day started off on the right foot with a jog, walk or run. Even the kids can join in on this one.
Arrive at 8:30am to start lining up for the parade. Now this is the opportunity to show off your inner creative side, whether it is designing your own tomato outfit, dressing your entire family in green and red, or showing off your favorite tomato-dressed pup. Whatever it may be, it’s ok to get funky.
Biggest / Littlest /Ugliest Tomato Contest
9:00am – Noon
After the parade, drop of your biggest, littlest or ugliest tomato that you grew in your very own backyard to be judged in this contest.
Giant Ice Cream Extravaganza at Pied Piper Creamery
This one is designed especially for the kids ages 2 – 10. They get to help build the largest ice cream sundae in East Nashville.
Vendor Visit Time
12:30pm – 2:00pm
Spend some time walking around all of the vendors. Two years ago, I stopped by Hip Hues booth and was able to screen print my own T-shirt for me and my hubby. Last year, I stopped by Sisters of Nature Truck and picked up the most adorable American-made shawl.
2:00pm – 3:00pm
This competition requires no pre-registration, just show up with your favorite redheads (men, women, boys, girls and those fake redheads) and make sure they get entered. This one happens at the contest stage.
Bloody Mary Competition at 3 Crow Bar
Mosey over to 3 Crow almost across the street to watch 10 finalists compete for THE BEST Bloody Mary. Better yet, order you one from 3 Crow. Word on the street is they serve up one of the best in town.
Xfinity Main Stage
While great music is happening all day during this festival, the ones recommended from my neighbors begin at this time. Be sure to grab a good spot for the following:
4:00pm That’s My Kid (pretty popular, so arrive early)
6:00pm Chrome Pony
View the FULL LINEUP to see who is performing on the three Tomato Art Festival stages.
While the festival wraps up at 6:00pm, music continues until 9:00pm on Saturday. Stick around, or as one of my neighbors Holland Oates said, “Post up at Red Door Saloon. Don’t leave.”
Let your inner Tomato (To-MAY-to) or Tomato (To-MAH-to) – however you prefer to say it – come out this weekend!