Staff Report

The Ruskin Tomato & Heritage Festival will take place once again at E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin on Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. It will be a benefit for the Ruskin Community Development Foundation.

The festival has its roots back to the 1930’s when it was the Tomato Festival, and ran off and on for many years. The last Festival was held in 2014. 

The event is still in the planning stage, but included will be a market with many vendors, live music, arts and crafts, along with a Kid’s Zone, which will include lots of family fun such as potato sack races. There will be free tomato slices, tomato dishes, as well as tomato-eating contests.

Organizers will also bring back the Miss Ruskin Tomato Queen Pageant, which will be open to all ages. Categories will include ages 2-4, 5-12, 13-19, 20-40 and ages 41+. If you are interested in finding out more information on the Pageant, email Selena Sandoval at selenasandoval@yahoo.com.

Prior to the Festival, Alfred the Roaming Tomato will be placing special hand-painted Tomato Rocks around the SouthShore area while teaming up with the SouthShore Rock group. If someone finds a rock, it can be re-hidden, or redeemed at the Ruskin Tomato and Heritage Festival on May 6. So get ready to learn about tomatoes and have some fun (big and little kids are welcome to play).

The cost to enter the Tomato Festival is $5 per person. Children under 12 are free.
E.G. Simmons Park is located at 2401 19th Ave. NW in Ruskin. There is also a $2 per car parking fee that will be charged when entering the park.

Volunteers are being sought to help with all aspects of the event, including help handing out tomato slices, gate handlers, grounds crew and more. To help, e-mail volunteer coordinator Juan Garcia at juan@zunigamarketing.com.

For general information on the Ruskin Tomato & Heritage Festival, email ruskintomatofestival@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/ruskintomatofestival or www.jens-market.com for updates on the event.