Planning process starts for Reynoldburg’s August event

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Kelley Youman
 |  ThisWeek

After this year’s Tomato Festival fell victim to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Reynoldsburg already is planning the 2021 event. 

City Council unanimously approved a contract Nov. 23 with West Virginia-based Media Promotions Enterprises (MPE) not to exceed $136,000 for booking and production services.  

The 2020 festival was canceled in the spring, and because of the cancellation, the city expects to budget about $90,000 toward the contract. 

“We do have $46,000 on deposit with them that would have gone toward the 2020 Tomato Festival so (MPE) will be carrying those monies over to next year,” said Donna Bauman, parks and recreation director. 

The company will secure headlining bands and provide services, including a portable stage, sound system and lighting.  

If the festival is canceled “due to state-mandated order,” MPE will work with the city to reschedule the acts or move the lineup to 2022, according to the contract.  

The 2021 Tomato Festival is scheduled for Aug. 12-14 at Huber Park, 1640 Davidson Drive. 

The Landsharks, a Jimmy Buffet and Beach Boys tribute band, is scheduled to play the opening night, according to the contract.  

Headliners for Friday and Saturday nights haven’t been announced

The city in 2019 used MPE to bring in country singer Phil Vassar and 1980s rockers Great White as headliners. 

The first planning meeting for the 2021 festival was scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at City Hall, 7232 E. Main Street. 

The 2019 festival was the first managed by the city. It went on hiatus in 2018 after being organized by Reynoldsburg Festivals Inc. for several years. 

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Under city management, the festival brought back carnival rides, added national musical acts and expanded entertainment to include more tomato-themed offerings, such as chili and salsa contests and a tomato fight. 

Started in 1965, the festival honors Reynoldsburg’s claim to fame as the birthplace of a sweeter, edible tomato created by resident Alexander W. Livingston. In 1870, he was the first to upgrade the wild tomato plant. 

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