knoxville news
knoxville news knoxville daily sun lifestyle business knoxville sports travel knoxville classifieds knoxville jobs knoxville legal notices knoxville yellow pages smoky mountains contact facebook twitter linkedin rss entertainment knoxville advertising

Grainger County Tomato Festival set for July 28-30


grainger county tomato festival
Grainger County Tomato Festival. Image courtesy of Wayfarin' Stranger.

The Grainger County Tomato Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The Festival was organized in 1992 to promote world famous Grainger County Tomatoes. The Festival also promotes all Grainger County agricultural products, specifically the Grainger County Tomato, and the many local artists, authors, talent, and craftsmen in the Grainger County area.

Over the years a number of special events have been added, making the festival one of the largest free festivals in East Tennessee. It has been named by Parade magazine as one of the top ten free festivals in the USA. The festival is always the last full weekend in July in Rutledge, Tennessee. Be sure to mark your calendar this year for July 28-30. There will be numerous vendors with food, crafts, art, authors, and commercial exhibits.

A living history section features people dressed in period clothing to exhibit what life was like during the Revolutionary War. There are vendors in this area as well selling handmade items like leather goods, wooden toys, and iron tools. These craftsmen are demonstrating their craft right there on the festival grounds, and they love to share their knowledge. This is an educational opportunity for the entire family.

Another crowd favorite is the tractor and engine exhibit and it’s not just for the guys. The ladies are included, thanks to the pink tractors. The folks that own these wonderful machines are right there with them and love to talk about all that is involved with restoration and use.

​The Tomato Wars is so popular that an extra day has been added to accommodate all the sign up, The war is a fundraiser for God's Planet for Haiti. TV stations and news stations sign up and battle it out with the too ripe to sell tomatoes that the Grainger County tomato farmers have donated for the event. It's not so clean fun for families, businesses, and church groups to get in on the action.

The storyteller this year is Harry Bumgardner, a member of the Sons of the Revolution. He knows most everything a man needs to know about the early history of our country. Be sure and bring the young folks by to see him because he has a variety of things to talk about.

grainger county tomato festival
Grainger County Tomato Festival. Image courtesy of Wayfarin' Stranger.

A featured vendor this year is Stonewolf and Barbara Moore. They hand make one of a kind traditional Cherokee Kituwah designs. Their collections include flint knives, stone tomahawks, hand painted leather jewelry (earrings, barrettes, å bracelets) off loom bead work, dream catchers, and medicine wheels. Be sure to go see them in the living history section up on the hill beside the middle school. Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree, The Village Smithy Stands. This blacksmith will be returning for the 8th year. He is the owner of Homegrown Forge and makes a number of items including railroad spike knives, equipment for outdoor cooking and various small items. He will be demonstrating under the big tree in the Living History area and as always happy to answer any questions you may have about blacksmithing.

Making a special appearance will be Charles the Pig. Charles is the miraculous survivor of The Great Smoky Mountains Wildfire. He and his people will be at the Tomato Festival this year selling his books, art work, stuffed animals and what ever else Charles decides to make to help raise money to help his family rebuild their home.

Misty Long is a new vendor this year. She makes teddy bears, aprons, pillows, dresses for little girls, and much more. She will be located in the elementary school. Rita and Susan Key will be back this year with their delectable and creative chocolates. They will be located in the elementary school.

New to Living History this year is David L. Adams of Tennesseans for Living History. He makes black powder bags, powder horns, blowing "fox" horns & knives. He has been constructing period correct black powder accoutrements since 1965. You will find David by the big tree in the living history area.

On Saturday night, July 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm, The Charlie Daniels Band with an opening performance by The Morrison Brothers Band. Admission is FREE.

Well behaved pets are welcome at the festival. There will be watering stations and misting tents all over the festival grounds to help keep cool. Please pick up after your fur babies and deposit their gifts in the nearest garbage can.

Festival hours are: Friday, July 28 noon to 8pm; Saturday, July 29 - 9am to 6pm; Sunday, July 30 - noon to 5pm.

​The Grainger County Tomato Festival is held at 7480 Rutledge Pike, Rutledge Tn 37861. For more information, visit

Published July 18, 2017

knoxville daily sun Knoxville Daily Sun
2017 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy