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East Nashville Festival Celebrates All Things Tomato Art

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The end of summer is coming soon, so let's go south for the final installment in our tour of offbeat festivals.

BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: This is Blake Farmer in East Nashville reporting from the annual Tomato Art Festival.

JOSANNA BANKS: I'm Josanna Banks (ph), and I'm a librarian at East High School.

FARMER: This getup - you have quite the outfit.

BANKS: It's a basket of cherry tomatoes. We're the cheery tomatoes.

FARMER: Cheery tomatoes.

BANKS: So we're cheery tomatoes. So we have a basket with lots of little beach balls and balloons.

JASON MALLORY: My name is Jason Mallory (ph).

FARMER: How do you explain this?

MALLORY: It's a little bit of Mardi Gras, and it's a celebration of the tomato.

FARMER: I mean are you a real tomato lover, or are you just...

MALLORY: I like to party.

FARMER: So if you walk around the Tomato Art Festival - far more art than tomatoes.

Do you mind telling me your name, who you are?

BARRY GERTEN: Barry Gerten (ph).

SALLY BLUE: My name is Sally Blue.

FARMER: Are these Bloody Marys that you're holding also a big part of it because I think I could get...

BLUE: Huge.

FARMER: It's time to hit the kids' corner in the Tomato Art Festival. This is Amanda Knight (ph) spray-painting the heads of small children.

Are you letting your child get her hair spray-painted?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I am. We do it every year.

FARMER: That's the sound of a child's head getting spray-painted like a tomato.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Now you look like a tomato. And she's off.

FARMER: It's the event everyone's been waiting for - tomato-inspired fashion for dogs.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have some events coming up. We have some dogs coming up. And let's kick it off right now with Timmy. Timmy's a Min Pin. He's about 10 years old we think.

FARMER: OK. I still have not sampled any tomatoes, but I'm signing off as it is beginning to rain. For NPR News, I'm Blake Farmer at the Tomato Art Festival in East Nashville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Blake Farmer
Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.

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