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Jacksonville gets set to celebrate the 30th Tomato Fest


POSTED: Monday, June 2, 2014 - 11:17pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 6:31am

Jacksonville tomatoes are a staple in East Texas, and being home to the state's only "Tomato Festival," the town takes pride in what has now become a 30-year tradition.

Boxes have been filled with salsa and vendors are already being put in place for the yearly Jacksonville tradition.

"It started really last week that we started kicking up the level of getting ready for the 30th annual Tomato Fest," said Chamber of Commerce president Peggy Renfro.

Bea Johnson currently serves as marketing director for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, but she was also the first ever chairman for the Tomato Fest.

"The first one was just kind of a mild success, but the group decided let's do it again, you know, Jacksonville people are very devoted and very determined so we did it again and the second one was even bigger and then it just grew from there and the it just kind of exploded," said Johnson.

Tomatoes are the festival's namesake, but also the back bone of this community.

"Agriculture is a big part of East Texas and we have something as proud as we are of our crop of tomatoes then obviously it's a great deal of pride to see this event happen," said Johnson.

"People will drive two and three hours just to get Jacksonville tomatoes," said Renfro.

The world famous tomatoes are made popular not just by their taste, but the pride with which they are pulled off the vine.

"The scope of it is uniquely Jacksonville and because they have done it for so many years and continue to be growers and produce a good product.  I think that pride come through particularly at Tomato Fest," said Johnson.

The festival is on Saturday, June 14th, and like always, admission is free.

Next week, leading up to the festival, they will also be holding a taste testing of some brand new Jacksonville salsa, sporting the 30th anniversary, right on the label.

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