It’s time for the 2016 Tomato Festival!

By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

The end of the summer is approaching, and that means one thing for the city of Reynoldsburg – it’s tomato time!

The Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival will take place from 4-10 p.m. Aug. 19 and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 20 in Huber Park, 1520 Davidson Drive.

While old favorites like bands, the Tomato Festival Queen and Little Princess contest and pizza taste-off return this year, the annual festival will also feature a few new events, including pony rides for kids and a climbing wall for older children.

Organizers say as each year goes by, the festival – now in its 51st year – will evolve and include more activities.

“Each year we plan on expanding it – all within our budget and from speaking to the public and finding what they would like to see,” said Mary Hudson, president of the festival.

The festival begins at 4 p.m. Aug. 19 with opening ceremonies one hour later that will feature a Presentation of Colors, National Anthem, the introduction of the Senior Queen and King, and an announcement of the winners of the Tomato Contest.

For those with green thumbs wishing to enter this year’s contest, entry forms are on the festival’s website, Categories range from largest and smallest tomato to best tomato-based dessert and salsa. Entries must be submitted by the Thursday evening prior to the festival, though the tallest tomato vine category applications must be submitted prior to Aug. 10.

The beer garden returns as well, opening at 6 p.m. Aug. 19 and noon Aug. 20. Friday night’s events also include entertainment by Kid Vig and McGuffey Lane, a Model A car show, Queen contest and bingo.
On Aug. 20, families will enjoy activities that include a visit by the Shriner Clowns, demonstration by the Truro Township Fire Department, a pizza taste-off, classic car show, spaghetti eating contest, karaoke and performances by the VCC Blues Band, McCloud and Friends, Perfect Timing, and Ambush.
For those interested in participating in the spaghetti eating contest, the festival will take applicants right up until the beginning of the event, Hudson said. Any business wishing to participate in the pizza taste-off must register up until about a week before the festival.

This year’s event also honors Bob and Karen McPherson, who were named the Senior King and Queen.
Charles Cochran, who is managing the volunteers for the festival, said more help is needed, especially in the beer garden and the kids activities and games area.

“Volunteers for the beer garden must be over age of 21 and complete a brief training,” he said. “Volunteers for the kids activities and games area complete a brief training as well.”

All volunteers will receive free refreshments in the volunteer station and a souvenir gift from the festival for giving their time, Cochran said. Interested volunteers may call (614) 580-7218 or email

Friday, Aug. 19
4 p.m. Festival grounds open
5 p.m. Opening ceremonies; presentation of colors by VFW Post 9473; National Anthem – Ashley Cochran; introduction of Mayor Brad McCloud; introduction of presenting sponsor Heartland Bank; introduction of Senior King & Queen; Tomato Contest winners revealed; performance by Reynoldsburg High School Marching Band;
6 p.m. Beer Garden opens; Chamber Night in the Beer Garden; Model A Car Show; Tomato Festival Queen contest;
7 p.m. Bingo – Senior Center; Kid Vig performs;
8 p.m. McGuffey Lane performs;
10 p.m. Festival grounds close.

Saturday, Aug. 20
10 a.m. Festival grounds open; J.A.Z. Dance and More performs;
11 a.m. Tomato Festival Little Princess contest; bingo – Senior Center;
Noon Beer Garden opens;
Noon to 2 p.m. Shriner Clowns on grounds;
2-5 p.m. Karaoke in Beer Garden;
2:30 p.m. Spaghetti eating contest;
3 p.m. Demonstration by Truro Township Fire Department;
4 p.m. Pizza taste-off;
5-6 p.m. Bingo – Senior Center;
5 p.m. VCC Blues Band; Classic Car Show;
6 p.m. McCloud and Friends performs;
7 p.m. Perfect Timing performs;
8 p.m. Ambush performs;
10 p.m. Festival grounds close.

Music entertainment

Entertainment will take center stage at this year’s Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, with a full line up planned for the Friday and Saturday evenings of the event.

On Aug. 19, Kid Vig will take the stage at 7 p.m., followed by festival favorite McGuffey Lane at 8 p.m.

A native of Reynoldsburg, Logan Stake of Kid Vig said some of his most memorable kisses and carnival winnings were spent at the festival.

“To me, the Tomato Festival has always facilitated creativity,” Stake said. “The creative ability to take something and make it for the people, from non-edible to edible.”

Stake will perform mostly original songs he wrote with the help of his friend, Max Platitsyn. He also will be accompanied by a group of Reynoldsburg natives during the performance.

While usually appearing as the headliner on the Saturday night of the festival, this year, McGuffey Lane will instead perform as part of the Friday night lineup.

John Schwab, who performs lead guitar and vocals for the popular American country rock band, says the change in day came down to timing.

“We were previously booked on Saturday down around Steubenville, but we still had Friday open when the Tomato Festival called,” he said.

This year, Schwab said he plans to do a format that shares the history of the band, starting solo since he opened for the band before he joined, followed by bringing out different members as the night progresses.

On Aug. 20, the VCC Blues Band will kick festivities off at 5 p.m., followed by McCloud and Friends – the band of Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud – at 6 p.m. Perfect Timing will take the stage at 7 p.m., with Ambush wrapping the festival up at 8 p.m.

Trish Padley, who plays acoustic guitar and sings vocals for Perfect Timing, said the band is known for its harmonies and performs fan favorites, from Journey to the Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles.

“We’re thrilled to be participating in the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival this year, as many of us have grown up attending the festival with our own kids,” she said.

Ending the evening is Ambush, which primarily performs country music, with occasional older rock and roll songs as well.

“The city of Reynoldsburg is a very nice town, and we’re so excited,” said David Blankenship, lead guitar player. “Ambush is ready to come in and put the best show we can possibly do for you folks.”

Tomato Festival Cruise-in
Classic cars will roll into Huber Park this month, as the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival will once again hold a cruise-in as part of the event.

This year’s classic car show will take place beginning at 5 p.m. Aug. 20, and will feature a wide range of prizes available for those wishing to participate.

Cars should enter from Haft Drive off East Livingston Avenue. Registration fee is $12, and those participating may begin registering at 2 p.m. up until 6:30 p.m. Trophies will be awarded at 8:30 p.m.

Awards include Tomato Queen’s Choice, Reynoldsburg Police Department Choice, Best Truck, Best Interior, Best Engine and Best of Show. Other awards can be found on the festival’s website at

The event also will include door prizes and a 50/50 raffle.

For information, call (614) 984-4074.

The Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival will take place from 4 to 10 p.m. Aug. 19 and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 20 in Huber Park, 1520 Davidson Drive.

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