Like many events that took a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ruskin Tomato and Heritage Festival is back. Dubbed as the major social event of the year up until the early 1950s, mark your calendars for Friday, June 17 for the Ruskin Tomato Queen Pageant and Saturday, June 18 for the daylong festival.

Put on by the Ruskin Community Development Foundation (RCDF), the Ruskin Tomato and Heritage Festival, in existence since 1934, promises something for everyone. According to the History of Ruskin, the annual springtime Ruskin Tomato Festival was put on in hopes of attracting visitors to Ruskin and to celebrate the area’s agricultural richness.

Tomato sandwiches and other delectable tomato dishes will be featured, along with other food from vendors and food trucks plus arts and crafts, dance team performances, cook-off contests, bounce houses and other activities for children. Additionally, musical guests will showcase some of SouthShore’s greatest country, rock, pop and Latin entertainers.

This year’s festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, said organizer Joe Zuniga, noting that the new location in downtown Ruskin will likely attract more people. Families can spend the day sampling famous Ruskin tomatoes and grabbing a burger or lunch while shopping for local crafts and honey and enjoying entertainment.

Zuniga, Ruskin’s honorary mayor, also will emcee the Tomato Queen Pageant, which will take place on June 17 at Southshore Falls starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $5, and Tomato Queens will be crowned by age group, starting from 0-5 years up to 41 years and older. Those who earn the title will represent Ruskin at different events throughout the year, including the Veterans Day Parade, and hold the honor of crowning next year’s queen in their age group.

The Ruskin Tomato and Heritage Festival will be held from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on June 18 at 633 1st St. NW. Proceeds from the event will be put toward the growth and development of the SouthShore community. For further details, visit the event’s Facebook page or email

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