Crowds gather at 25th annual Grainger County Tomato Festival

WATE 6 On Your Side Staff - RUTLEDGE (WATE) - Nationally recognized tomatoes are in the spotlight this weekend in Grianger County at the annual Tomato Festival.

This is the 25th year for the Grainger County Tomato Festival and there will be lots of tomatoes on hand. The festival itself is free and family friendly.

"We want everybody to come out," said Kathie Self with the festival. "We consider this a family event and we promote it that way as well. We want everybody to come out and have good time. If you don't want to go to the tomato wars, and you want to go look at antique tractors, listen, we got that too."

Many vendors donating their proceeds to charities.

"We try to help needy children at Christmas because their parents cant afford Christmas for them," said David Munsey with the Grainger County Ridgerunners Club. "We try to help them out, or maybe some old person who cannot buy their medicine. We can take some money and try to help them out."

"Tennessee's known for a lot of things. People know Dolly and Elvis and Peyton and Davy Crockett and Grainger County tomatoes. It's one of those things we're well known for. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Grainger County Tomato Festival, again, it's one of those cool things that happens around the state that I'm glad to be a part of. But it's also a big part of our economy. Tennessee's the fourth leading tomato state in the country," said Gov. Bill Haslam.

One of the most popular parts of the festival each year is, of course, the Tomato Wars, which will happen Saturday and Sunday.

More online: Full schedule of events

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