East Nashville's quirky Tomato Art Festival returns for its 19th year

Tomato Art Festival 2022
Posted at 4:04 PM, Aug 13, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tomato Art Fest is an East Nashville tradition that draws in huge crowds from all over the region — all to celebrate a pretty common produce. But if you only step inside the festival and keep your eyes peeled, you'll find that the people watching is "ripe" with eclectic variety.

"It’s the best day of the year — I live for this day," said Hosanna Banks, dressed as a can of tomatoes.

"Little kids that have looked so, so cute, groups of people all dressed up," said Melanie Mills.

Only at East Nashville's Tomato Art Festival can you find a following this "in the can" to share their love of their favorite summer savory.

"I have to stand like a debutante," said Banks, who also had tomato cans stacked on a hat on her head. "I did not give you any canned answers."

"Who else to promote the Tomato Fest than Bob the Tomato from Veggie Tales?" said Bailey Warner, sporting a tomato hat straight from the beloved children's animated series.

"And it’s just funny; it’s a tomato. Making a whole festival out of a fruit," said Chase Warner, Bailey's husband.

The costumes at the festival range from the outlandish to the oddly specific.

"'Pretend I’m a Tomato' — take it for what it’s worth," said Randy Ehrhart, who wore a t-shirt he found on Amazon that read "Pretend I'm a Tomato."

But if you think the quirkiness ends with the costumes, just wait until you've stepped into the art show.

"The epitome of East Nashville," said Ehrhart.

We spotted everything from a votive of Beyonce Knowles holding a tomato in the style of the Virgin Mary to a piece entitled "Aromas of the Romas" that featured a tomato-inspired perfume bottle. Bailey Warner created that piece, and a few others featured in the show.

"Being able to expand out and get our artwork in new places, especially in an art-loving community such as Nashville — I mean, I’m thoroughly very excited to have my artwork in it this year," she said.

But, to be honest, when a festival is this fruitful, the odds of finding something entertaining are good, because the goods are so odd.

"The fashion is literally out of control," said Mills.

"Being a little bit quirky and inviting the rest of the city to join us," said Banks.

This year was the 19th celebration of the two-day festival.