‘All Things Tomato’ to be celebrated at Aug. 19 festival

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2017


WOODLEAF — This year’s Tomato Festival (www.facebook.com/woodleaf.tomato) will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, at Unity Presbyterian Church. The festival is a free, family focused all-day event now in its 11th year. It is always held on the third Saturday in August, determined to be the time when the tomato farmers in the community are between their first and second crops of the season and have time to attend.

Proceeds go to Unity Church and mission work. Tomatoes are grown in Woodleaf from spring until October.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. using a route on Woodleaf-Barber Road from the Woodleaf Volunteer Fire Department to Unity Church, 885 Woodleaf-Barber Road, Cleveland.  The parade features antique cars and tractors, horses, and others who promote tomatoes.

The stage, erected in the historic church yard in front of a large shade tent furnished by the Lazy 5 Ranch, is busy all day with live entertainment and children’s contests such Little’Mater Blossom, Little Miss Tomato Sprout, and Little Tommy Toe. There is a tomato eating contest, a best-tasting tomato contest, and a tomato recipe cook-off contest.

There is a children’s play area, including a bouncy house; a Tomato Hole tournament (think corn hole); bake sales, and booths with ice cream, salsa, and ham biscuits. The West Rowan High School FFA will sell hot dogs and hamburgers in the church picnic area. Of special interest: church members prepare the traditional tomato sandwiches, selling them as fast as they can get the tomato slices between slices of bread.

Fresh vegetables and fruits from nearby farms are always a big hit. Craftsmen will demonstrate some of their work.

Woodleaf’s “Home Grown da’Maters,” a dance team, will perform. Festival-goers wear tomato shirts and tomato hats, turning the church yard into a sea of red. The “Big Tomato,” a giant 10-foot inflatable tomato donated to the festival by Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten, will be on site. It’s a favorite picture-taking spot.

Competition is under way to name the Woodleaf mayor, chosen by the candidate who raises the most money. The new mayor will replace David Dowell, who has served as mayor since last year’s festival. It is a great political job: There are no responsibilities, except a love of all things tomato. Woodleaf is unincorporated, so it is all in fun.

David Barrier of Your Dream DJ Productions will be the emcee. Proceeds from the church fund-raiser helped pay for a new fellowship hall and continue to be used for Unity Church and other mission work.

This year’s silent auction features a one-night stay in the Cherry Treesort treehouse in China Grove (www.facebook.com/cherrytreesort/), a birdbath donated by Dr. Rhod Lowe, an original Curtis Waller painting, art donated by Ann Roland Furniture, Cheerwine memorabilia, pottery, and much more.

Sponsors are Fleming Tomatoes of Woodleaf, Correll Tomatoes (Red Barn Farm) of Woodleaf, Osborne’s Tire & Automotive of Cooleemee, Martin Marietta Aggregates of Woodleaf, Blue Bay Seafood Restaurant, Rowan Mutual Insurance, Cross Roads Charters & Tours of Cleveland; Select Customer Insurance, Shane’s Family Roofing, Do Drop In Salon, Summersett Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Wetmore Farms, LLC of Woodleaf, Father & Son Produce Market, Cool Springs Mobile Vet, Myers Brothers Gin Inc., Hodge Farms Inc. of Mt. Ulla, Cleveland Drug, Reid Link Construction, Vista at Walnut Hill of Cleveland; Godley’s Garden Center & Nursery, Inc., Lazy 5 Ranch of Mooresville; Cleveland IGA, R&S Tree Service, and Miller Davis Marketing of Salisbury.



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