When the lively red fruity event concluded at 8 p.m. July 8 at the Los Banos Fairgrounds, the consensus was the 13th Annual Los Banos Tomato Festival was a success.

 During the free community event, vendors lined the main thoroughfare to the kids’ entertainment area. Food of all flavors, tastes and textures were served as festival-goers made their way from exciting events to hard-fought competitions.

Even in the heat parents enjoyed their tasty food and entertainment and kids romped in the play area filled with over 20 inflatables, featuring games to bounce houses.

For those who liked to compete, the day started with a cornhole tournament at 10 a.m., followed shortly by a pageant and deadlift competitions held at 11 a.m.

The next event was the tomato-eating competition at 3.p.m. and competitions concluded with the Salsa Showdown at 5 p.m.

Family entertainment took place between and after the competitions, starting with live music from noon to 2 p.m. provided by local band, The 13th Step. From 2 p.m. on, there were dance performances by the Kats Level Up Studio, Encore Dance and Dance Explosion. Sandra Garza provided live music between 2 and 3 p.m. followed by Dj Dan until 4 p.m.

The crowd-packed Henry Miller Barn was the venue for the entertaining Luche Libre professional wrestling from 4 p.m. to a little after 5 p.m. The event brought chants from an enthralled crowd who loved both the hilarious parts and the hard-hitting slams.

The 13th Step provided its second performance of live music from 4 to 6 p.m. followed by Grupo Impacto until the closing at the festival’s closing at 8 p.m. Festival-goers could Paint and Sip from 5 to 7 p.m.

At 8 p.m. when the festival closed down, many members of the community brought home memories of fun, food, music, dance, and of course a red fruit the local region grows in vast abundance, tomatoes.

The Tomato Festival was organized by Los Banos Chamber of Commerce event chair Catrina Johnson with major help by the main sponsors, Ingomar Packing Company and Kagome Inc.

Javier Powell