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Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato Festival returns

By Katie Fender

Photo: Local band The Rejects perform at the annual Miamisburg Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato Festival, taking place this year June 13

Mark the date for the annual Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato Festival, Saturday, June 13 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sponsored by MidUSA Credit Union, this year will make the fifth consecutive year of the event.

The idea for the festival actually began seven years ago, with Rock ‘n’ Roll on the Square, an event created by Ron Holp and Jack Sperry. Holp, of Miamisburg’s Ron’s Pizza House, and Sperry, of Miamisburg’s Hamburger Wagon, created this event as a sort of thank you to all their loyal customers.

“He has Ron’s Pizza and I have Hamburger Wagon, which has been in business for 102 years, and we are located right next to each other and we’re also both by market square,” Sperry explains. “So we decided to start Rock ‘n’ Roll on the Square. We did that for two years and wanted to do something else. So just talking with Ron, he said he always wanted to have a green tomato festival and I said, ‘Well, why?’ And he said, ‘Well, why not?’”

According to Sperry, Holp got the idea from the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” and to their knowledge theirs is the only green tomato festival they’ve ever heard of. So they decided to turn that idea into a reality: the Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato Festival.

The Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato Festival has been a success since its start and has continued to grow each and every year. Last year, around 3,000 people attended.

This family-friendly event has all types of activities ranging from local bands and food vendors, to several different fun contests. The musical theme features music from the ’50s and ’60s. This year, the event will welcome a 14-piece “Vegas Style” Elvis band, in addition to popular local bands like The Rejects and B-Caged.

Festival attendees can also be a part of the big stage with karaoke. In addition to karaoke, there will several events and activities for both adults and children. For the kids, not only is there a whole area designated for the young ones to let out their energy, there is also a hula-hoop contest, a petting zoo and bouncing houses to name a few activities. The adult activities include a corn hole tournament–last year there were 35 competing teams with a team entry of $20 and a grand prize of $250. There is also a 5K in the morning that starts on Miami Ave. and continues along the levy. Last year there were around 75 runners.

These are just some of the activities at the festival. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato festival without some fried green tomatoes. The fried green tomato stand is just one of 60 vendors at the festival. About 15 of these vendors sell food and the rest are merchants. Other food stands include Ron’s Pizza House, cotton candy, wraps, and Hamburger Wagon. Hamburger Wagon will also hold a hamburger-eating contest. Sperry promises, “You won’t go hungry.”

The festival really embodies a small-town theme, Sperry explains. So, in keeping with both the small-town theme and the fried green tomatoes, the festival will hold its annual fried green tomato pie contest.

“We probably had around 12 entries last year and we’re hoping for more,” Sperry says. Curious about the taste of a friend green tomato pie? “The ones I have tried are like apple pie,” Sperry notes. “They keep them pretty sweet. Last year there was even one with a candied bacon lattice on top.”

Sperry notes the purpose of this hometown event is to give back. “We utilize members from high school athletics and part of the proceeds go back to [them],” Sperry says. Last year they had a dunking booth a local football team organized.

Sperry and Holp hope to continue to grow this small-town event into something even bigger.

“Hopefully in two to five years we can make this a weekend festival, but that will require more money, more planning and bigger budgets,” Sperry says.

MidUSA Credit Union presents the Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato Festival Saturday, June 13 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in downtown Miamisburg next to Ron’s Pizza House, 1 S. Main St. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit rockngreentomato.com

Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com

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Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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