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Woodleaf residents ready to tout tomatoes

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
WOODLEAF ó It’s time again to celebrate the tomato on Saturday.
Long known for the quality and quantity of the area’s tomato harvest, Woodleaf and residents of western Rowan County are planning relaxed country festivities for the annual Tomato Festival at Unity Presbyterian Church on Woodleaf Barber Road.
Church members and friends are working hard to make it an even bigger event than last year.
Attractions include a parade, a cook-off, a pageant, a yard sale, entertainment and a host of other activities.
First up at 8 a.m. is the Tomato Trot 5K Run and Walk.
The run covers 3.1 miles, while the walk distance is approximately one and a half miles. All participants will receive a dri-fit shirt and a certificate for a free lunch at the festival. The top three male and female finishers, and the top finisher in each of 22 age groups, will receive awards in the 5K.
A children’s fun run around the church cemetery will follow at about 8:45 a.m.
The 5K pre-registration fee is $20 with a race day fee of $25. The walk is $15, and the fun run is $10.
The 5K course winds through rural tomato and dairy farmland. Runners and walkers should enjoy a large cheering section as the festival kicks into high gear upon the runners’ return to the finish at the church.
A parade will follow the completion of the running events, with line-up beginning at 8:30 at Woodleaf School.
There will be a Tomato Cook-off and the much sought-after Miss Miss Tomato Festival pageant, which is open to any man who would like to enter (dressed as a woman). The crowning is scheduled for noon.
New this year is the Little Miss Mater and the Little Tommy Toe pageant, open to children age 6 and younger.
Other events include all-day entertainment, a yard sale, dunking booth and a silent auction. Youngsters can enjoy a Kid’s Zone specializing in fun ways to cool off on a hot day.
Fresh produce and lots of good food will be on sale. Concluding the festival is a performance at 1:30 p.m. by Divided by Four, a popular Motown and oldies band.
More information on the festival and running events can be obtained from Race Director Mallory Hodge at 704-278-1852, from the church at 704-278-4248 or by e-mailing woodleaftomatofestival@yahoo.com.

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