This year's Tomato Festival landed back on August 11th. It's hard to believe this was already Lilli's 4th Tomato Festival. (2009, 2010, 2011). We woke up a little after 7 and walked down the street to catch the 5K that comes to the corner of our block. It started at 7:30 and by the time we walked down we only had to wait a minute or two for the runners to start. As is the case for all road races, a police car was ahead of the first runner ensuring course safety - ever since then every time Lilli sees a police car she asks when the runners will be coming. For some reason she's just not quite certain what else police do. Afterwards we headed home and ate some breakfast, then changed into clothes and met our friends (aka "Serif and Serif's mom and dad") on the walk over to take in the Festival. We hit the Kids Zone first since it's only open in the morning and it was already an absolute mad house. Every year the festival continues to grow and this year 30,000 people were predicted to attend. I can definitely say in the 6 years we've lived here it's grown leaps and bounds. I do miss the less crowded days!!
Lilli made a tomato bead necklace in the Kids Area....
and then watched Serif make a little rice filled noise maker.Next stop was the Las Palates Popsicle stand in front of Bongo Java. They never, ever have enough so I've learned to have one as a pre-lunch appetizer. I've also learned Lilli needs her own.This was Serif's first LP Popsicle. Note how calm and still they both are when chowing down!! They truly are the best popsicles in town.All the usual oddities of the festival were in full force and costumes were everywhere. I really forgot about having anything special for Lilli until the last minute. This year she just sported a black T-shirt and a red Gap tutu-style skirt I recently got at a consignment sale. It looked cute and tomato-y enough for the day.
Always plenty of interesting sights to see....
We ended up splitting up from Serif's family somewhere along the way in the crowds and two kids wanting to do separate things. Eventually Lilli chose to ride in the stroller a bit (she's not crazy about crowds which is fine by me!) and as we were walking around looking for a food truck line that wasn't at least an hour wait she eventually passed out. The only truck without a crazy line was really the main one I wanted to try - they had some seriously awesome spicy cheese grits with locally raised sausage and it was SO good. I would definitely try the Riff's food truck again. She slept the whole time I waited in line and while Brent and I ate so we had a nice little lunch!She woke up as we were leaving and I shared some pink lemonade with her as we walked back through the thick crowds home. This is the first year people have parked as far down as our house! We're exactly a half a mile from the celebration, not a bad walk for us and not worth trying to drive closer,but it was crazy to see people literally parked as far as our block.
Tradition holds that every year we let Lilli pick out a new piece of artwork from a booth of Brent's choosing. He tries very hard to influence her towards HIS tastes but the choice is always hers. She ended up choosing this piece this year (just the print, Brent already framed and matted it). She wanted this one because that's her and "my baby" (riding a wolf together). She also wants to hang it in the baby's room, which it does match the colors, but this is her piece. Our hope is one day when she leaves home she has lots of unique pieces of art to decorate her own place, and maybe one day one of these unknown artists will be famous!And that was Tomato Festival 2012! We had a great day with friends, Lilli enjoyed sharing some of it with Serif, and like always we ran into tons of other neighborhood, church and daycare friends while we were there. On the way over to the playground tonight Lilli was still naming off all the friends she saw there at the Festival.
Guess next year we'll have to coordinate two outfits and buy even more artwork!