Midwest Tomato Fest wrap-up: A view from inside the war zone

Categories: Festivals
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Photos by Ed Neaton
Tens of thousands of pounds of tomatoes were tossed, smashed, and drained all over Afton Alps this past Sunday night, as thousands took part in the Midwest Tomato Fest, the biggest tomato fight Minnesota has ever seen.

The fight was the highlight of the daylong party, which also featured performances from musical acts Shwayze, the Cool Kids, and Johnny Holm Band. According to organizers, roughly 2,500 produce-pounding festival-goers showed up for the inaugural event ready to drink, party, and rumble. Even with temperatures reaching the mid-90s, the crowd remained upbeat, despite the citrusy layer of tomato juice that seeped into their every orifice. Yes, EVERY orifice.

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Photos by Ed Neaton
While the day wasn't without growing pains -- the tomato fight only lasted about 30 minutes before the entire arsenal was destroyed, and the downtime between bands got a little monotonous -- the event as a whole proved very successful for its first year.

Now, it would be easy to describe the scene of the fight, with thousands of tomatoes flying and people swimming in puddles of juice, but the only way to really understand what went down is to experience it personally. That's why I've broken down the brawl minute-by-minute, to let you vicariously relive the calamity for yourself (NOTE: For the full effect, heat up one or two cans of tomato juice to room temperature and douse yourself before reading). 

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Photos by Ed Neaton
2:28 p.m. The crowd is buzzing and ready to show each other no mercy. Many people are fastening swim goggles to their faces, and to my left is a group of girls in their early-20s debating whether or not they should step out or stay in the crowd for the explosion.

Standing to my right, two dudes are discussing how they are about to "smash tomato shit all over those girls" the second the fight begins. Tomato Fest is clearly bringing out the best in people.

2:32 p.m. The buzzer has sounded and the brawl has begun. It takes less than 25 seconds for the first tomato to hit me square in the ear. A tiny woman in a bathing suit and swim mask picks up the tomato that hit me, and then proceeds to smash it into my chest. Tomato Fest: 1; Manhood: 0.

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2:38 p.m. Almost all of the whole tomatoes have been thrown, but people are still picking up smashed remains and tossing them into the crowd. Anyone who appears to be too clean has become a target, and they are pelted with handfuls of hot, slimy tomato pieces. I make the mistake of opening my mouth for just a split second, and end up spitting tomato pieces moments later. This is not a festival for germaphobes.

2:44 p.m. Someone walks by me with a cup of tomato remains, opens my shorts and pours the cup down them. This fight has taken a sexy turn.

2:46 p.m. A dude is now lying on the ground, pretending to swim in the tomato juices. His friends immediately begin kicking additional juice and tomato guts at him. He gets upset and realizes the error of his ways. Overheard in the crowd: "That went up my nose, bro." He's not alone. I too have tomato chunks impeding my breathing. Bro.

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Photos by Ed Neaton
2:53 p.m. I've officially had enough. I attempt to make my way through the crowd towards the water cannons to wash up...only to be blindsided one last time by a guy dressed as a beer bottle. After dumping a cup of tomato remains over my head, he mumbles something inaudible and races back into mix.

The crowd quickly thinned out shortly after the fight itself wrapped up, but several hundred stuck around to marinate in the aftermath.

Altogether, the Fest had an extremely impressive debut and this year will hopefully be the first in a long line of tomato fights to come. Until then, you have 364 days to sharpen your food fighting skills. Get to throwing.

Related content:

Location Info

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Afton Alps

6600 Peller Ave. S., Hastings, MN

Category: General


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14 comments
ron
ron

In response to "Yara".... Don't ever assume to know who I am and tell me to re-evaluate my life.  That's the problem with you liberals.  You assume to know whats best for everyone.  I suppose next you're gonna tell me I can't eat french fries.  I was simply leaving an opinion.  There's better things to educate people on than tomato fights.  Our country is in world of shit, and this company writes articles on tomato fights.  But yet when a story about someone that they don't agree with comes out.... wow, push all the chips in.  Why not write about something positive?  Wait, I already know the answer to that.  Liberals are full of hate and jealousy.  It's not in your blood to think positive. 

Mrlnstks
Mrlnstks

This was a great experience!  I hope this is the first of many years to come.

ron
ron

wow you guys waste your time and money on some stupid stories.  i think you need to re-evaluate your staff.  or your editor.  no bachmann bashing today?  im disappointed in you.  its my daily comic relief.  no, not laughing at bachmann.  laughing at citypages.

matt
matt

holy shit i cant belive you did this

MK
MK

What's the point here?  To waste tons of tomatoes?  Not digging it. 

Yaris
Yaris

I'll be seeing you on The Blotter Ron. and cheer up a bit is all I'm saying. There's such shit going on in the world, I think the positivity of liberals is a nice addition to the united states. Don't you think? Or yes, let's all live in a country where everyone fends for oneself and is hateful towards any other human being. Sounds like fun!

Jessica Armbruster
Jessica Armbruster

Ron,

You are making these comments on The Dressing Room, City Pages' arts and entertainment blog. We cover artsy locals and fun things to do around town here. If you are looking for politics, venture on over to The Blotter.

turner overdrive
turner overdrive

so does this mean that you ron, support bachmann? now i'm pretty sure that you are the one getting laughed at. i know i am.

Stephen Eigenmann
Stephen Eigenmann

They really weren't wasted, if you take a look at the Festival's website- these tomatos otherwise would have been completely wasted & thrown out to decompose. Oh yeah, and they helped fight hunger.

word

noodleman
noodleman

The event was also a benefit for the Dorthy Day Center. You had to pay to play.

Jessica Armbruster
Jessica Armbruster

MK, the tomatoes used during the fight were all overripe and past their sale date. So at least they were used to toss at people for fun rather than in the trash, right?

ron
ron

no, it doesn't.  typical liberal.  there you go assuming again to try to feel smart.  im laughing at how horribly biased this company is.  come up with something better than that.

MK
MK

That's good to know, Jessica.  Thanks.  :)

Yara
Yara

Hi Ron,I was just browsing on the internet. Paid nothing, and found this article. Now would be the time to re-evaluate (your life) your first comment. PS- Only the united states is stupid enough to, in our day, support such idiots as Dear Mrs Michele Bachman. Think about it for just one second please. Thank you and you're welcome.

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