RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Grainger County region is best known for its homegrown tomatoes.

The Tennessee state fruit has been celebrated for the past 30 years and the fun is continuing this week. The Grainger County Tomato will return to Rutledge Elementary School on Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22.

The 2-day festival will consist of food, live entertainment, and onsite local vendors ready to cater to you. Get some grocery shopping done and pick up some of the famous tomatoes that are grown in the heart of Grainger County by local farmers.

Local makers and artisans will also be onsite to sell their crafts.

On Friday, July 21 The Grainger County Opry will feature a lineup of local talent including music and comedy.

If you are looking to play with your tomatoes rather than eat them, join in on the popular Tomato War. Registration begins at 9:00 am at the baseball field and the event will begin at 10:00 am. Proceeds raised by the Tomato Wars will go to the Rutledge Middle School football team.

The main stage will feature live music from local country and gospel singers and bands. The lineup schedule has been shared on the Grainger County Tomato Festival website.

Farmer’s from all over East Tennessee will be onsite to sell their fresh produce.

The history of tomatoes in East Tennessee goes back to 2003, when it was officially named as the state fruit. The region offers the perfect place to grow and produce tomatoes due to the rich soil and frequent rainfall.

Anthony Carver, Extension Agent and County Director with the UT Extension and Grainger County Tomato Festival Board, explains that tomatoes are huge for the economy. Since Grainger is a rural county with limited industry, it’s great that the red fruit can boost the economy.

Today there are over 650 hot houses in the county and 500 acres of field crops of mostly tomatoes which bring in $10 million in sales annually.

According to Carver, Tennessee is 5th in the nation for tomato production.

To learn more about the world-famous Grainer County tomatoes, check out the Festival’s website and visit their Facebook page.