Tomato season seems a little late this year, but that isn’t stopping the party this weekend at Ripley City Park, where tomato growers, vendors, and fans will celebrate the renowned summer crop from Lauderdale County.
The 31st Annual Lauderdale County Tomato Festival kicks off Thursday evening with a concert in the amphitheater of Ripley’s downtown court square followed by two days of contests, music, art, and plenty of tomato eating thanks to vendors and two tasting events.
Tickets are $7 for the tomato tasting on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center, where you can also purchase the festival’s 25th anniversary cookbook. The Tomato Festival Saturday Salad ($8 a plate for salads, dessert, and drink) is the same time but the next day at First United Methodist Church. Shuttles to both events will run from the park to event venues.
The deadline for entering the tomato contest is Friday at noon when tomatoes will be judged by size (can’t wait to see that winner), shape, color, and taste. Some oddball competitions also join the line-up, including the Action Shooting Pistol Contest at 5 p.m. Friday and the Baby Crawling Contest at 9 a.m. Saturday.
New to the schedule this year is a pop-up museum Saturday organized by Black Ripley, a blog that collects and shares stories about African Americans from West Tennessee. Participants should bring memorabilia (photos, newspaper articles, etc.) to share during the one-day event.
31st Annual Lauderdale County Tomato Festival, July 10-12, Ripley, Tennessee