Thousands Turn Out For Saucy Tomato Fest - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/14/03 - Jacksonville

Thousands Turn Out For Saucy Tomato Fest

Whether you like them raw, fried, or just in your ketchup, this weekend was all about the tomatoes in Jacksonville.

Thousands of people came out to celebrate the 19th annual festival. There were animal rides, arts and crafts, and fun for the whole family.

And of course, tomatoes.

People lined up to pick their favorites, and even though Jacksonville isn't the producer it once was, today was still centered around the tomato.

"Obviously, tomatoes are not produced here like they once were," tomato grower David Claiborne says, "but it was an important part of Jacksonville's existence and we like to honor that."

"It's still about the tomato."

There were several tomato contests this weekend, including a hot sauce contest and the ever-popular tomato-eating contest.

This year's winner, Scott Battan, ate six in two minutes. His secret?

"You just don't eat breakfast," Scott says.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.

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