Monday, August 13, 2012

The East Nashville Tomato Art Fest 2012

Hola friends and neighbors!  How was your weekend?  Hope it was wonderful.  The weather here in Nashville took a wonderful turn from blistering heat to the low 80s.  Now that's what I'm talking about!  It was so lovely we spent most of the weekend outside.  The downside to that was I have the worst case of chiggers I have ever had in my life!  If you don't know what chiggers are, look them up.  They are evil little critters.  I understand the food chain and the need for it in our world, but I do NOT like being at the top of their food chain.  I will tell you this, there may be nothing that itches worse, except poison ivy.  Yikes.

The big event of the weekend in East Nashville was the Tomato Fest.  What a truly fun event.  It happens the second Saturday in August and celebrates all things tomato.  As you can see from the poster, the tomato is a uniter, not a divider and brings together all fruits and vegetables.  You just have to love that philosophy!

History of the Tomato Art Fest

The Tomato Art Fest was founded by Meg and Bret MacFadyen, owners of East Nashville’s Art and Invention Gallery. In 2004, the gallery hosted an art show celebrating the tomato in late summer, and planned a few neighborhood events to promote the show. The Tomato Art Fest proved so popular that it immediately turned into an annual, signature event for the hip, urban neighborhood of East Nashville.
The Art and Invention Gallery, and Garage Mahal, is a really cool place located at 5 points in East Nashville.  They show original art by local artists and it is open year round.  
This  "tomato" decahedron in the background was created by a local artist and you could have your picture taken inside.  There was a constant flow of people in and out.  I thought it was hilarious.
The sign says "uniting nightshades and polyhedra".  Awesome!  
The tomato sculpture had 29 vertices and 12 faces, and the bottom sign declared 2012  the year of the tomadodecahedron.  Clever!

There were hundreds of booths set up in the closed streets manned by artists and food vendors.  Lots and lots of people attended since the weather was spectacular.  Usually, it is like  a sauna, so hot that it is unbearable.  Mother nature totally cooperated this year and we thank her heartily.  I heard there were as many as 35,000 people in attendance Saturday afternoon.  That's a lot of people for 5 Points.  

There are all kinds of activities, lots of live music - I mean, really, it's Nashville, home of country music - but there were all kinds of bands playing.  There was a vintage fashion show at one of the vintage shops, a Tomato King and Queen, 3 Crow Bar made bloody mary's and tomato margarita's all day.  Pied Piper ice cream shop has tomato ice cream (and it's really good), and then there is I Dream of Weenie, our local weenie wagon.  If you ever come to East Nashville, it is a must to visit I Dream of Weenie.
If you look very closely, you will see that I Dream of Weenie is made from an old VW van with a porch attached on the front.  It is so darn cute!  There were so many people waiting in line, I couldn't get a really good picture.  Adorable!

Here is a street view of vendor's booths and lots of people checking out all their art work.
Look at the color of the sky!  Such a beautiful blue and not a cloud in it.  What a great day for being neighborly.

The grandsons were enthralled at the man on top of the building making the biggest bubbles I have ever seen.  He had two big sticks, with some kind of rope tied between that he was obviously dipping in bubble solution of some kind and he would hold the sticks up and huge bubbles were released  by the wind into the sky.  The little guys squealed with delight and so did we.  I really need to find out how to do that!  I wish the picture was better, but I was too far away.  

There was even a tomato street prophet wearing a sandwich board wanting to save the tomatoes and the humans AND the rest of the ecosystem.  Yes!

And, there were tomato balloons.  Of course, the grandsons had to have some.  I named them toothy tomato.  
How cute is that?  You can see Pawpaw on the right, corralling another balloon.

There are some incubator businesses next to Garage Mahal that are such a great idea.  All different kinds of cute places to shop.
There is also Wonders on Woodland and Rumors which is a lovely wine bar and restaurant.
I took a tour of The Art and Invention Gallery and checked out all the tomato art.  There were some amazing pieces to choose from.  I know, when you think of tomato art you wonder how many ways can you draw a tomato?  There are many, many ways and they are so clever and lovely.  Here is the blue ribbon winner.
These are rain barrels painted like tomato soup cans.  I LOVE these.  Very creative indeed.
Here are a few more pictures to enjoy.  This is a huge place and it was packed with people, so I couldn't get as many pictures as I wanted, but it will give you an idea of all the creativity done around the simple tomato.

The clerk let me take a picture of her awesome hat that was created by a local fashion designer.  I did not get her name because I had to take the picture in a hurry, but the hat was awesome.  There are lots of people wearing tomato inspired hats and clothing at the festival.  East Nashvillians love to have a good time!
There were sparkly winged tomatoes on a black top hat and a big, sparkly red heart on the front.  If you know me, you know I am a sparkly kind of gal and I fell in love with her hat!
This is one of my favorite buildings in East Nashville.  Love, love, love the mural art on the wall.  
We had a great afternoon strolling, eating, people watching and enjoying the beautiful weather.  The idea of using the tomato for a festival theme was perfect.  You know, some people think a tomato is a fruit and some think it is a vegetable.  Next time you eat a tomato, look at it differently.  The tomato is a uniter, not a divider - bringing fruits and vegetables together.  It's kind of a  metaphor for life don't you think?  Something we all should strive for - uniting, not dividing.  We're already looking forward to next year's festival.  Perhaps you should mosey on down and check it out.     
Everyday Donna
Things to Remember:
"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." - Lewis Grizzard

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