Aug 11, 2023 - Things to Do

East Nashville's Tomato Art Fest turns 20

A Tomato shaped parade float

A parade float at a previous Tomato Art Fest. Photo: courtesy of Tomato Art Fest

Summer in the South comes with a lot of challenges, from oppressive heat to the constant threat of severe storms, but one thing makes it all worthwhile.

Ketchup quick: This weekend in Nashville is like Christmas for tomato lovers.

  • The 20th annual Tomato Art Fest is taking over the Five Points area to celebrate everything about those wonderful red orbs.
  • Events begin Friday night and run all day Saturday.

Driving the news: The festival, which started in 2003 as a modest art show, has exploded into a vibrant street fair that brings the community together for a parade, live music, a costume contest, a 5K and, of course, plenty of bloody marys.

  • Don't miss the opportunity to bob for tomatoes or check in on the ugliest tomato contest.
  • Multiple East Nashville businesses are joining in on the fun with complementary events and promotions.

"It has taken off in a way none of us predicted," festival director Jack Davis tells Axios. "People just latch on to that community feeling every year."

State of play: Davis says this landmark year will make signature elements of the festival bigger than ever. Nearly 100 groups have signed up for the parade, which will include six marching bands.

  • "In the end, we leaned into the things that have made the event what it is," he says.
  • "It's fun to watch people not look at their phones for several hours."

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