What do you get when you take 60,000 tomatoes, give them to 5,000 pumped up, sweaty people, and give them the green light to wreak havoc on each other? Downtown Minneapolis is about to find out.
This Saturday, the second-annual Midwest Tomato Fest takes place on Portland Avenue in downtown, culminating with the biggest, messiest tomato fight you've ever seen. Last year, the event attracted over 2,500 to Afton Alps, and this year organizers are expecting double that number.
"We really wanted to do it downtown this year and make it more accessible for people," says Kamal Mohamed, one of the event organizers. "We already have more tickets sold than we did last year, and we'll probably get a lot of people who buy on the day-of too."
In addition to the fight (which isn't mandatory for attendees), the all-day festival will feature live music from Absolute Gruv, The Blend, DJ Zeke Thomas, Gemini Club, and Tim Sigler band, along with food trucks from Barrio, World Street Kitchen, and Nate Dogs that will be on-site to fuel battlers before the rumble as well. But really, this is all about the tomatoes.
A Frame Forward Photography
Much like the annual La Tomatina festival in Spain (which Mohamed says served as the inspiration for the Minnesota-version), the streets will be flooded red with tens of thousands of tomatoes. But fear not, acidic fruit lovers: Just like last year no healthy tomatoes will be harmed during the course of the massacre.
"The tomatoes we're using are overripe and past the date they can be sold to people," Mohamed explains. "They are going to be thrown away anyways, so the wholesalers agree to sell them to us instead."
In addition, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless, a local non-profit that helps feed those in need.
Based on the impressive growth they've seen in just two short years, Mohamed says they may expand the fest outside of Minnesota next year. For now, however, he's just looking to make this year's event as big and messy as possible.
"Everyone who went last year seemed to have a great time, and it's been really cool to have people asking about it, posting pictures on their Facebooks, and telling us that they're excited to be there. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I think that having it downtown is going to make it even better."
The event kicks off at noon and will conclude with the fight around 7 p.m. Clean-up stations will be available on-site as well, so you can avoid having to drive home looking like Carrie. Grab your goggles, and get ready for the messiest day of your life this Saturday.
Check out a preview of the fruit-fight happening Saturday:
IF YOU GO:
Midwest Tomato Festival Saturday, July 14; noon to 7 p.m. 395 Portland Avenue S., Minneapolis $40 admission; all ages Click here to learn more