Grainger County Tomato Festival back after COVID-19 canceled 2020 event

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GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Thousands came to the Grainger County Tomato Festival Saturday as people from across East Tennessee supported local businesses and enjoyed one of the largest free festivals in East Tennessee.

Rutledge, Tennessee had more visitors than its population size for the Grainger County Tomato Festival.

“The different things that you get to see, the different people you get to talk to, it’s just fun and entertaining,” said Kathy Texter of Corryton.

People were glad to see the event back after the festival had to be canceled last year due to COVID-19.

“I think everyone is excited to get back out of their homes get out of the just being so closed up, being able to sort of get back to normal,” Texter added.

For Greg Mathews of MGM Lavender Farm, these types of festivals are vital to his business.

“We normally set up at the Oak Ridge Lavender Festival and they canceled it for the last two years,” Mathews explained. “So it was good to get out to a big festival like this, this year.”

Kathy Texter said that she comes every year,

“The tomato fights, all the clogging, all that stuff, it’s just a lot of fun for a day.”

That fun can be messy though. Especially when you sign up for those tomato wars.

“I was running and the person hit me in the head,” laughed Caysen Davis.

Some teams developed a strategy to win.

“Our goal was to go for the little kids and when they say open field, just chase them down,” said Easton McRuinolds.

They said it was every man for themself out on the tomato field.

“We just thought about hustling and throwing hard, and that would be the key,” Sawyer Combs added.

However, even with all the fun and festivities, there’s one thing you can’t leave the Grainger County Tomato Festival without.

“Well, you definitely have to get the Grainger County tomatoes,” said Kathy Texter. “That’s a for sure thing.”

The goal of the Grainger County Tomato Festival is to promote all Grainger County and surrounding area’s agriculture. So, if you missed Friday and Saturday’s events, you may be able to find the same products and produces sold at your local grocery stores.

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