Guest columns for Eastside Messenger

Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival needs community support

Despite the fact that the 2007 Annual Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival was shortened as a result of inclement weather, planning for the 2008 Festival began in February.   Firstly, the Festival Committee would like to thank the community and businesses for their continued support of this great community event throughout the years.

Secondly, the Committee wishes to raise awareness that the Festival is more than a five day event that occurs annually.  In addition to the annual celebration in September, Festival Members and the Tomato Queen and  her court volunteer to help at other Reynoldsburg events such as the Community Halloween Party, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Christmas on the Towne.  

The Tomato Queen and her court are the "unofficial" representatives of Reynoldsburg at more than twenty community events throughout the Central Ohio Region.  To name a few, the Ohio State University Homecoming Parade, Columbus Red-White and Blue Independence Day Parade, Gahanna Festival of Lights Parade, Dublin Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, Obetz Zucchini Festival, Canal Winchester Labor Day Parade, West Jefferson Ox Roast Festival,  Baltimore Festival and Commercial Point Homecoming Festival.  

Also, the Tomato Queen and her court attend grand openings of businesses in the Reynoldsburg Area such as Kroger and Gamerz.  Consequently, surrounding central Ohio communities identify Reynoldsburg  by it’s major event – the Tomato Festival.

Thirdly and most importantly, despite the many successful years of the Tomato Festival in the past, the Festival is currently undergoing financial hardships.  Sadly, many factors have contributed to this situation, such as inclement weather and a lack of community awareness of the inter-relationship of the Tomato Festival and the Reynoldsburg Community.  

Rising festival costs are another contributing factor to the hardships, as the expense for putting on this event continues to increase.  These expenses include items such as tents, security, portable toilets, electricity, portable lighting, ice, and water, just to mention a few.    

In order to continue the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival community support is needed.   Not only does the community need to attend the festival itself but they also need to show their support throughout the year.   

The Festival committee is in the process of planning fund raisers to help subsidize this year’s festival, which will be held Wed. Sept. 3 through Sun. Sept. 7.  If there are any suggestions for fund raisers, please contact the Tomato Festival at 614-866-2861 or email  Help in this area is imperative.

The Festival committee is also seeking sponsors to help fund the Festival.  Businesses or individuals may sponsor a specific event occurring at the Festival, such as one of the participating bands, princess pageant, senior king and queen, or queens’ program, just to name a few events.  Any business or citizen may also donate to the general fund.  Any amount is greatly appreciated.  Just image if every business in Reynoldsburg donated $50.00 and every Reynoldsburg citizen contributed $1, the financial hardship of the Festival would be relieved and the future of the event would be secure.

Lastly, the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival is a not for profit volunteer organization completely separate from the City of Reynoldsburg.  This group of volunteers is committed to the continuation of the Tomato Festival as Reynoldsburg premiere annual event; but, it can only succeed through total Reynoldsburg community support.  If you are interested in sponsorship, donation, or even being a part of this great tradition, please contact Tomato 1 (614-866-2861), or 

Anyone may also visit the Tomato Festival website at  The Festival desperately needs Reynoldsburg community assistance to make the Tomato Festival great in 2008.

– Nancy Mergel, Tomato Festival Trustee

Solicitors in Bexley must  display permit with photo

Spring means an onslaught of solicitors who knock on Bexley doors trying to sell anything from magazines to lawn care service to candy bars.

We have recently updated the Bexley rules for solicitors (ordinance and policy) and there are a few things you should know.

Bexley Ordinance No. 29-08, amending Section 832-01, Peddlers and Solicitors, of the Bexley City Code requires that any person wishing to engage in door to door selling or solicitation or public opinion poll questioning in the city must first obtain a license.

Each applicant for a license shall pay a filing fee of $25 and complete/ submit an application to the Chief of Police.

This is an important point: "A license is required and must be visibly displayed on each person who will be engaging in door to door solicitation or opinion poll questioning."

If a solicitor knocks on your door and you don’t see this license with my signature, including their picture, please ask to see it. If they don’t present it, close the door and call the police department at559-4444

It is critical that we differentiate between legitimate solicitors and those who are just trying to get a look inside your house or garage.

If a solicitor tells you that the permit is "on file with their company’s headquarters" or provides some other excuse for not presenting or displaying the license, excuse yourself, shut the door and call the police.

I can’t stress enough; the very first thing you need to look for when a solicitor knocks on your door is their "visibly displayed" license with a picture that actually resembles the person doing the soliciting.

In 2007 Bexley residents endured 472 incidents of robbery, burglary, theft, and breaking and entering of their homes and cars. In many cases the criminal knew full well what was behind the closed doors and windows of the house or garage before ever breaking in.

We need to know that the people walking our streets posing as door to door salespeople, solicitors, or public opinion pollsters are who they say they are. Make them show you the license and please call the police if they refuse.

Before any solicitor is issued a license, they must first "make arrangements on their own to have their fingerprints taken and a criminal background check completed and forwarded directly to the Bexley police department."

I will not issue any solicitor a license until I have reviewed their criminal background check and made certain they have no criminal record. And, "no license will be issued to an applicant under eighteen years of age unless such applicant is a resident of the City of Bexley."  

Licenses are good for the balance of the calendar year and must be renewed at the beginning of the year or soliciting season.

"Solicitors license can be suspended indefinitely and without notice by the police department, the director of public safety or the mayor if it is found that the application contains a false statement or upon complaint that such licensee has engaged in unreasonable sales techniques, used improper language, failed or refused to leave any premises upon request or violated any law of the City of Bexley, the State of Ohio or the United States of America."

But wait, there’s more: "The provisions of this Section shall not apply to volunteer solicitors for any church, or synagogue located in the City of Bexley, or for any charity approved by the Mayor of the City of Bexley."

This means that when our Bexley schools or any other Bexley charity plans to solicit, they need to come see the mayor before they get started.

And, this is another big point, "No person shall engage in door to door sales or solicitations or public opinion poll questions before 9:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. or sundown, whichever is earlier."  

If they violate this, you guessed it, excuse yourself, close the door and please call the police.

"Whoever violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this Chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the Fourth Degree and shall be fined not more than $250. A separate offense shall be deemed committed each day during or on which a violation or noncompliance occurs or continues."

Please call when you see anything suspicious or when a solicitor violates the rules. We will do the rest.

– Bexley Police Chief Larry Rinehart

Previous articleTransplant survivor has new cause
Next articleBruised Tigers win state title


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.