Tomato Fest to “pelt” the town red

TIPP CITY — The inaugural Home Grown Tomato Fest in Tipp City invites festival-goers to play with their food and get in on a little friendly food fight action.

The new event will feature tomato games and contests, food trucks and a Bloody Mary competition and tasting, and will end with a tomato-slinging bang — the Great Tomato Fight.

The festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. in Canal Lock Park, on State Route 571 right next to the Roller Mill.

Planned by Downtown Tipp City and sponsored by Tip Top Canning, the festival celebrates local businesses and the beginning of the tomato harvest, Downtown Tipp City Director Heather Dorsten said.

The day’s final event, the Great Tomato Fight, is inspired by the Spanish festival La Tomatina, where festival-goers throw tomatoes at each other in the town square of Buñol.

Like La Tomatina, there are some ground rules tomato fight participants will be asked to adhere to, Dorsten said. Guidelines include using soft tomatoes and participants will be asked to sign a waiver for safety, and are advised to wear shoes and consider goggles for eye protection, she added.

Be aware, Dorsten said, most of the activities are BYOT — Bring Your Own Tomatoes. Be sure to stock up on ripe tomatoes before heading to the park, she advised.

In addition to the tomato fight, there will be several games and contests, like a tomato toss and a contest to see who grew the largest tomato.

From 12:30-2:30 p.m., local bartenders will face off against each other to see who makes the best Bloody Mary. The bartenders putting their own twist on the classic cocktail will be representing local establishments, including Buckeye Distillery, Greenfire Bistro, Coldwater Cafe and Harrison’s.

“We have six competitors and for $10 people can go in and try all of them and vote at the end for their favorite,” Dorsten said.

The contest will be held inside the Roller Mill and will be open to adults ages 21 and up.

The Family Tomato Toss will challenges pairs of two to toss a roma tomato back and forth as contestants step back each round. The last pair not to drop their tomato wins. Tomatoes for this contest will be donated by Tip Top Canning.

Gardeners are invited to bring their largest home grown tomatoes to the park from 1:30-2:30 p.m. for the Largest Tomato Contest. Each tomato will be weighed and winners will be announced at 2:45 p.m.

Want to get recognized for your mess-making abilities? The Largest Splat Competition, which requires contestants to bring their own squishy tomatoes, throw them at a target and measure the splat with a tape measure, might just be for you.

The event will also feature two local food trucks, Loafin’ Around and FirePie Pizza Oven, Dorsten said.

There will be bathrooms available and, if your clothes get covered in tomato guts, you can pick up a themed t-shirt while supplies last before heading to Tipp City Eagles Park for Tippapalooza music festival that evening.

In the week leading up to the festival, Downtown Tipp City will be “splatting” participating downtown business, by painting a tomato splat on their window. Some businesses will also offer special tomato-themed promotions, Dorsten said.

“Everyone’s jumping on board in a lot of unique ways,” she said.

For more information, visit Downtown Tipp City’s Facebook page. You can also pre-order t-shirts and Bloody Mary tasting tickets at

By Cecilia Fox

Tomato Fest schedule

12:30-2:30 p.m. — Bloody Mary competition

1-2:30 p.m. — Largest Splat competition

1:30-2:30 — Largest Tomato contest

2 p.m. — Family Tomato Toss

2:45 p.m. — Winners announced

3 p.m. — Great Tomato Fight

Reach Cecilia at


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