Tomatoes still tasty at new venue for annual festival

A variety of tomato samples were available at the festival. Allen Wallace photos.

The venue was new, but the main attraction was the same Saturday at Columbia’s 10th annual Tasty Tomato Festival.

After nine years at City Roots, the event, organized by Sustainable Midlands, moved to Earlewood Park on North Main Street for 2019. Admission was free to celebrate the anniversary and attract people to the new location.

“I actually didn’t even know this park was here, but it’s really pretty,” said Kellen Thomas, who had attended the festival several times at City Roots and decided to follow it north.

Saturday’s festival included family field day events such as basketball, quidditch and capture the flag, as well as educational options like a “pollinator walk” and a “child’s tour of tomatoes.”

The annual tomato competition proceeded as usual, with prizes awarded for the best home grown product in each of eight categories: big red, small red, purple, big yellow, small yellow, unusual, grown in public garden, and grown by child.

Musicians also performed throughout the day, including Tom Hall and the Plowboys, who returned to the festival after playing at its first five editions before taking a sabbatical.

Food trucks served up food both tomato-based and completely unrelated to the theme of the day, and Senn Brothers Produce offered freshly grown items for sale, also including but not limited to tomatoes.

Sustainable Midlands is a local organization which works to encourage responsible growth, ensure access to local food and establish a healthy environment for all Midlands communities.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County