Nashville's 15th Annual Tomato Art Fest is THIS WEEKEND!!! Get Ripe and Ready to Go!!!
So I heard through the grapevine (well, maybe the tomato vine) that there's a pretty unique festival going on in East Nashville this weekend. One surrounding a fickle little food that is trapped in a never-ending battle for how it should be identified; vegetable or fruit? (It's a fruit, y'all). No matter what you call it, Tuh-May-Toe or Tuh-Mah-Toe (let's call the whole thing off), these ripe red bulbs of juiciness are a snack so synonymous with summer, it feels almost shameful to let a summer go by without celebrating everything they've given us. For the past 15 years, the Tomato Art Festival of East Nashville has created a way to do just that.
Back in 2004 when Usher's "YEAH" first hit the airwaves and "Napoleon Dynamite" made it's way into the theaters and our hearts, Meg and Bret MacFadyen hosted an art show at their gallery, East Nashville's Art and Invention Gallery. The purpose of the art show was to celebrate the tomato in late summer. They planned a few events around the neighborhood to help promote the show. Since then, this simple art show has expanded exponentially, garnering the accolades of Nashville Scene's Best Festival every year for the past decade, and having an attendance of more than 60,000 last year!
This weekend is expected to be no different. On August 10th and 11th, the Five Points area on Woodland Street and the surrounding area will host more than 200 vendors, all with a passion for our succulent little fruity friend. There's so much going on at this festival, taking it all in at once and deciding how to divi out your time can almost get overwhelming. But fear not my friends, for I have taken the liberty of delving through this festivals impressive list of activities and I'm here to tell you the five highlights that I think will make for one truly delicious Tomato Fest experience.
1. Night One Kick Off
Everybody knows that any good festival needs a slamming good kick-off party to get things rolling. And after 15 years of growing, the Tomato Art Fest sure knows how to do it right. The festivities will be kicking off at 6 o' clock Friday afternoon. The streets will be filled with delectable food vendors, music will be performed by a STACKED lineup of Buxton, T. Hardy Morris & the Hard Knocks, and The Whigs to close out, and there's even a Kid's Fest for the little one's, complete with a Kid's Tomato Art Contest!
2. Early Morning DON'T MISS IT Tomato 5K:
No one wants to get up early on a Saturday morning. But y'all, I promise, just this one time, you can do it. What better way to feel better about all the food and Bloody Mary's you will inevitably consume at the festival than to start things off with a nice 7:30 AM 5k! Now I know that sounds treacherous. 7:30 in the morning and 5k in the same sentence? Owch. But y'all, how many of you could use a nice morning jog surrounded by beautiful people to inspire you along the way? I haven't run in an embarrassingly long time, but this Saturday, I plan on lacing up my Saucony's and leading the pack to the finish line!
3. Tomato Art Fest Art Show... Of Course THAT'S HOW IT ALL STARTED
Everything that the Tomato and Art Fest has become, all stemmed (get it... stem? Like on a tomato??) from Meg and Bret MacFadyen's original art show at East Nashville's Art and Invention Gallery. So it seems only right to pay visit to all of the captivating tomato art in order to get the true tomato fest experience. I don't know how popular the food painting scene is in Nashville, but I do know that Nashville is home to several unbelievably talented artists. I have no doubts that a trip to the gallery would be a yummy treat for the art appreciater in all of us.
4. The Tomato Cooking Stage:
Nashville has always had a pretty good reputation when it comes to food. But in the past decade, Nashville has evolved to become almost as much of a Food City as it is Music City. It seems like their are spectacular restaurants popping up everywhere all the time on every corner. I believe food to be a very communal thing, so it makes me excessively happy to see so many great culinary institutions teaming up to cook their most badass tomato-themed dishes. Chefs from Nashville hot spots like Butcher & Bee, Calypso Cafe, and Greko Street Food are just some of the many that'll be cooking up a storm on Saturday!
5. The Concert Stages (Duh):
Because this is in fact a Nashville Festival, you know there's not gonna be any shortage of good music. Saturday will see four unique and rocking stages, all cranking up the best music that Nashville has to offer.
So grab your sunscreen, grab your bug spray, grab your kids, and come out to this festival that is so uniquely East Nashville! Oh, by the way. In case this wasn't enough incentive to make you wanna come out, this wildly cool festival is FREE. That's right. Zero monies to get into the fruit festival of a life time. You know what to do people. I will see you there.