Woodleaf Tomato Festival set for Aug. 20

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2022

WOODLEAF — The Woodleaf Tomato Festival, a family tradition in the tomato-farming community of Woodleaf, will be held Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds at Unity Presbyterian Church, 885 Woodleaf-Barber Road. The festival is held on the third Saturday of August.

Tomatoes have been grown in Woodleaf for more than 125 years, and there are many loyal followers of Woodleaf tomatoes.

The festival parade, which travels from the Woodleaf Volunteer Fire Department along Woodleaf-Barber Road to the church, will be held at 10 a.m. with Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten as grand marshal. Auten is retiring this year after serving as sheriff for 12 years and has always been a good friend of the festival and its efforts to raise money for community projects and missions. He donated the big inflatable tomato which is a favorite photo-taking background and adds to the “sea of red” when festival-goers show up in “tomato red.”

Parade entries should be at the fire department, 3500 NC 801, Woodleaf, by 9:30 a.m. No registration is required. Tractors, horses, bicycles, vintage cars and plenty of kids enter the parade, along with a crowd favorite, “The Dancing Tomatoes.”

This year, a “Dress Like a Tomato” contest will be held, instead of children’s pageants, with folks of all ages encouraged to enter. The contest will be held at noon on Center Stage with prizes in divisions. Pre-registration is not required. Other contests include:

  • “Biggest Tomato,” with entries due at the table beside the stage by 11:30 a.m. The winner will be announced at noon.
  • “Tomato Toss,” 12:30 p.m. This requires a two-person team to compete with judging by age.
  • “Tomato Eating Contest,” highly competitive, 2:30 p.m. with Junior and Senior division competition.

The festival sells hundreds of tomato sandwiches, made by the women of the church, as well as breakfast sandwiches. The West Rowan High School FFA sells hot dogs and hamburgers. Baked goods and home-canned goods are available. Some 50 vendors sell crafts at booths around a large shade tent, provided by Lazy 5 Ranch, in front of Center Stage. Vendor registration is being accepted until Aug. 10. Forms and information are available on the church website, www.unitypresbyterianchurch.com

Entertainment on Center Stage includes Strings of Victory, Southern Express and Your Dream DJ. A silent auction will begin at 9 a.m. and close to the highest bidders at 2 p.m.

For more information, contact woodleaftomatofestival@yahoo.com.

Kids’ activities are available, including hayrides, rock painting, a clown who makes balloons and a juggler on stage.



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