TOMATO, TOMATO The 11th annual Tomato Festival will take place this weekend, Aug. 23 25, at the Evangola State Park. Tomatoes are judged, each year. Pictured, above, are tomatoes submitted into the 2005 competition. Photo by The Sun.
HAMBURG It was not until the early 1800s that tomatoes were acceptable to eat. This fruit is a part of the nightshades family of plants, which is known for its alkaloid potency and high toxicity.
Then, a resident of New Jersey changed the game.
According to James Goodwin, M.D. and Jean Goodwin, M.D., MPH, in their Journal of American Medicine Association article The Tomato Effect: The Rejection of Highly Efficacious Therapies, tomatoes were not always eaten as abundantly as they are today.
It was not until 1820, when Robert Gibbon Johnson ate a tomato on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, N.J. and survived, did the people of America begin, grudgingly, we suspect, to consume tomatoes, the authors said.
Now, more than a century later, tomatoes have become a staple in American cuisine.
The Evangola State Park, located in Irving, will host a celebration of these fruits this weekend, during the 11th annual Tomato Festival. The festival will run from Aug. 23 25 at the park, located at 10191 Old Lake Shore Road in Irving. The event will include food, crafts, a beer garden and a farmers market. Other activities include a theme auction, the I Got It! carnival game and an inflatable midway from A Bouncers Paradise inflatable rentals.
The highlight of the festival will be the tomato contest. Awards for the biggest grown tomato, the best-dressed, a tomato-eating competition and best tomato sauce will be presented.
Live music will also be performed, during each day of the weekend.
The Miss Evangola Pageant will be held from noon 3 p.m. on Aug. 24. Meanwhile, the car and motorcycle show will be taking place until 4.
The 10th annual Tomato Trot 5K race/walk will take place on Aug. 25, the final day of the festival.
An application is available online; registration will be held from 8 8:45 a.m., with the trots commencing at 9:45. Trophies will be given to the fastest three men and women in various age divisions.
For more information visit www.evangolastatepark.com