Tomato Fest Filled with Flavor

The city of Jacksonville takes its title as Tomato Capital of the World quite seriously throughout the year with large concrete tomatoes adorning the streets. Once a year, city officials do it big with the Tomato Festival, turning Jacksonville into "Tomatoville" for a week.

The festival takes place on Saturday, June 9, this year. For tomato lovers, plan to visit the farmers' produce booths or enter one of the various contests like tomato peeling, tomato packing or (you guessed it) the tomato eating contest. 

Samples and snacks made with tomatoes also await attendees. Favorites include salsas and fried green tomatoes.

The primary draw to satisfy taste buds, however, is the Farm-to-Market Dinner. The experience highlights local produce and farm fresh ingredients and Diamond T Ranch Wagyu beef created by Rob Gowin, Sadler's Kitchen & Catering. This dining experience is Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m., at the Castle on the Lake on Lake Jacksonville. Advance reservations are required. Deadline for making a reservation is June 1.

Other, non-eating, activities include live music, sports events at the Tomato Bowl, a tomato shoot and archery, a talent contest, kids zone, car show, a ski show and a Saturday night street dance. 

What's missing is a public debate on whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, but all agree that good tomatoes just can't be beat. 

More information and the full schedule available at

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