Tomato and Salsa Fest changes location, draws a crowd

By Jason Casey
Lebanon Local

Local cilantro aficionados likely found lots of fulfillment Saturday, Sept. 8, at the 10th annual Tomato and Salsa Fest in the Academy Square Gazebo in the field next to the Lebanon Library. 

 “It’s great seeing the community respond with such energy and it’s a great event, “said Myra Ullfers, an event volunteer. “It proves Lebanon is a happening place.”

If you didn’t make it out to the event, there were 20 vendors, from Boy Scouts of America to homemade hats, and the biggest tomato contest. 

Winner Jeanie Wright’s tomato weighed in at 2.02 lbs.

There was also a salsa contest:  Most Unique, Hottest You Can Still Eat, and Best Overall category winners were selected by the attendees who tasted the salsa and voted. 

Curt Stutzman won best overall and most unusual, and Kevin Ort won the hottest. There were 21 entries in the three categories. 

“Its good people in the community and it’s nice meeting different individuals,” said Neal Biehm, who attended the festival. 

The Salsa fest was held at Timeless Gardens for the last nine years. Then long-time organizer Trudie Bason retired from the event and offered it to the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, who chose to move it to the gazebo area. 

“It’s grown so big,” said organizer Linda Percy. “We needed more space to evolve and grow so more people could enjoy.”

Close to 300 people turned out to enjoy the fresh tomatoes, salsa, and kids section.

“Overall, the salsa was good, and we have all the volunteers, and I can’t get over the generosity,” said Cindy Ongers of the Chamber Ambassadors.