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Eastmont Tomato Festival Celebrates All Things Tomato!

The 2009 Heirloom Tomato Queen, Karen Cronin (right), crowns the 2010 Cherry Tomato Baby.

Celebrating “All Things Tomato” the EastMont Tomato Festival will have more hours of fun than ever before. The festival will open at 10am, on August 18 at the Meadowbrook Center in Shawsville, with events lasting until 4pm.

The 2012 Festival schedule includes the crow- pleasing Tomato Pageant at 10:30 and a Magic Show at 11:15. A full range of musical acts will play throughout the day, as well. Scheduled musicians include Dan and Joy Burroughs, Alleghany Strings, Fort Vause Band, and the Chris Giles Collective.

Tomato Cuisine is a highlight of the EastMont Tomato Festival, with traditional dishes like Fried Green Tomatoes and Tomato Sandwiches on the menu. The “Tour of EastMont” special allows folks to choose a sample of items for a discounted price.

Artists and cooks are encouraged to participate in the wide range of contests with art contest categories include “art featuring tomatoes” and “art made from actual tomatoes.” Separate prizes will be given for adults and for children. The art contests will be judged by members of the EastMont Art Association.

Food contest categories include salsa, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup. Prizes will also be awarded for the best tasting, biggest and funniest looking tomato. Dennis Dove and Barry Robinson, festival veterans, will judge the food contests. This year they will be joined by Donna Speaks, owner of the soon-to-open Mockingbird Cafe in Christiansburg.

The Tomato Pageant, emceed by the renowned Robert Pilkington, requires that contestants “Wear Red, act like Tomato Royalty, and display a Tomato Talent or Skill.” Pageant Judge Leslie Hager-Smith will, no doubt, have an interesting challenge in selecting winners.

For the energetic younger crowd, the TomatOlympics adds tomato dexterity to the usual events, creating a fun and exciting sporting spectacle. The EastMont Farmers Market will have tomatoes for sale, and various artists and crafters will tempt you with their projects and products. Area non-profits will also be there to share information with the public.

There are still sponsorships available for the festival, and volunteers are always welcome. “Our sponsorship levels reflect various varieties of tomatoes,” explained Michael Hemphill. “Whether Cherry Tomato or Big Boy, we have a sponsorship for everyone.” Hemphill is the Executive Director of the Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation, which benefits from funds raised by the Tomato Festival.

For more information about the Eastmont Tomato Festival, contact Michael Hemphill at [email protected] or 540-556-2879 or visit


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