A pink tomato festival. With no prior knowledge of the event we would have assumed that this is a celebration of a locally grown tomato that ripens to a pink (rather than deep red) color (there ARE such tomatoes). But no… what they are celebrating, here in Bradley County, Arkansas, is a variety of tomato that ships well if picked when the tomato tops just barely turn pink (ripening further after picking). That pink tomato is now the official state fruit and vegetable of Arkansas.
Now this strikes us as something like a Rock Hard Peach Festival: you can’t blame the region for being happy with the development, but we’re not so sure we’d want to publicize the fact to the general public. Nonetheless, if you, like us, enjoy attending celebrations of the local food crop, then this one sounds like an especially good time. This year’s 60th annual celebration is labeled the Diamond Jubilee.
The highlight of the festival, from our point of view, has to be Saturday’s All Tomato Luncheon at 12:30 p.m., although that Heirloom Tomato Taste Test at 11 a.m. might be a good way to begin your tomato-centric day. There’s a steak cook-off, also at 11 a.m., as well as a Tomato Eating Contest, at 10:45 a.m. — choices will have to be made! There’s also a bacon eating contest following the tomato eating contest.
The Warren, Arkansas festival kicks off this Saturday, June 4th, with the tomato pageants and the golf tournament. Other events leading up to the big day on the 11th include a skeet shoot, a talent contest, and a gospel jamboree, and the carnival opens on Thursday. Friday, June 10th is a day full of festival fun. One of the highlights, in our eyes, would be that tomato packing contest (we love festival events that keep with the theme). Saturday’s festivities will begin early in the morning with a 5K walk and a 5K run, to be followed by a baseball tournament and swim meet.
The day will be packed with activities like the quilt show, a car show, arts and crafts, a dog show, an art show, and a mobile aquarium. There’s plenty of live entertainment, including musicians, comedy, and magic. We love a parade, and the Pink Tomato parade starts marching at 10 a.m. For all the details, see the festival website.