By Christine Bryant
Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival organizers are postponing this year’s festival until 2019.
The move comes after organizers say they want to take a step back and re-evaluate how to enhance the festival and incorporate community recommendations.
“It’s an institution in our community, and we want it to continue,” said Mary Hudson, president of the Reynoldsburg Festivals Inc., a non-profit organization that organizes and manages the Tomato Festival. “Our group has been around for nine years and everyone is a volunteer. We really want this, want it to be successful and to be what the community wants.”
Rising costs in several areas – from entertainment to sound and lighting – and the desire to incorporate more activities have prompted the festival’s organizers to postpone the event so they can evaluate how best to move forward.
“The festival is such a historical event in Reynoldsburg,” Hudson said. “We don’t want to let it go, but we want to take a step back so we can present the visitors with the best experience we can.”
Recently, the festival’s organizers created an online survey asking for the public’s opinion on what aspects of the festival they enjoy most and which areas they want to see changes. Hudson said ideas have included increasing the length of the festival, adding a parade, bringing in larger rides such as a ferris wheel, and offering more of a variety in games, entertainment and food.
The location of the festival also likely will change back to Civic Park, where it was held for several years and can accommodate more parking and space for an increase in activities, Hudson said.
Recruiting additional volunteers for the festival, which is held every year in late August to early September, is another top priority over the next year, she said.
“We have had such wonderful people since our group took it over nine years ago, but we have lost quite a few volunteers,” she said.
Hudson said she spoke with the festival’s main sponsor, Heartland Bank, and the city of Reynoldsburg, and both expressed their continued support as festival organizers move forward in planning the event’s return in 2019.
Anyone who has additional ideas or would like to volunteer with organizing the festival can contact (614) 866-4888 or reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org.