Reynoldsburg Tomato Festivals future uncertain

Though not sure of the specifics, Reynoldsburg officials are hopeful a Tomato Festival will be held next year, despite the recent announcement that the group that organizes the event will terminate all business activities Dec. 31.

"It is my contemplation that there will be a festival of a type," Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud said. "It will probably be shorter, it will probably be different. But in as much that the tomato is synonymous with Reynoldsburg, I think there will be something."

Effective at the end of the month, the trustees and members of the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival Inc. will no longer operate the festival, which they have done so for the past 43 years.

The festival has been reliant on sponsorships and donations from the business community, exhibitor and concessionaire fees, and park revenue from attendees to cover the expense of putting on the festival.

"During the last four years the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival Inc. has been unable to generate sufficient revenue to cover these expenses thus exhausting all of our cash reserves and causing us to operate in the red," according to a press release from festival organizers. "Inclement weather, increasing operating costs, dwindling business sponsorships and eroding community support coupled with the current economic downturn are the cause of this indebtedness."

Rather than continue to finance the festival on next year’s anticipated revenues, the membership voted unanimously at its October general meeting to terminate activities and sell its assets to relax the current debt, according to the news release.

It is uncertain what the future plans of the festival are, but McCloud said preliminary discussions are under way.

"I think it needs to be a joint effort of some of the local civic organizations, Visitor’s Bureau, Reynoldsburg Community Association, etc.," he said.
In the news release, the trustees and members of the festival thanked the city, businesses, community groups and attendees who have faithfully supported the festival.

"It is our hope that all who have been associated with the festival and the public have many fond memories and that your association with the Tomato Festival was an amicable one," the release said.

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