You know Nashville’s moving up – face it, we’re the “it” place to be.  Bonnaroo, celebrity scandals, relatively calm weather – we’ve got the others beat.  And one of the best local, hot happenings is coming up soon on Saturday, August 11 - it's the Tomato Art Festival.

The festival, which began as a simple tomato art show in a local gallery, has become one the places to be in the last four years.  And the number one reason in my opinion: costume friendly!  That’s right, whip out the sewing machines and let that creativity shine!  Any event that encourages its participants to dress like a vegetable is going to be a gas.  You won’t believe your eyes when you see some the wacky and inspired ways that people can incorporate tomato into a costume!

You don’t have to wait for the festival to get your “mater” on.  In fact, it all starts Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, with the Tomato Parade Art Workshop – cause a Tomato Parade has got to start somewhere. 

Inspired by all of our new neighbors from New Orleans, the parade is done in Big Easy style with anyone who wants to participate urged to dress up and strut their stuff as they walk down the street.  To help prepare for the parade, Art & Invention Gallery, home of the original tomato art show, is hosting a workshop where you can create your own unique umbrella, umbrella hat, or car window flag.  All your supplies are provided, except for anything special you want to bring, but space is limited and reservations are required.  Call 615.226.2070 for reservations and directions.  The cost is $10.

As the 11th draws near, there’ll be another flourish of activity, with a tomato photography exhibit and a children’s tomato art exhibit. 3CrowBar will host the annual Bloody Mary competition, with the preliminaries happening on Friday, August 10. The popular winners that evening will return Saturday for judging.

Lipstick Lounge will host the second-annual Tomato King and Queen Pageant on Friday the 10th as well. This contest and coronation is held at The Lipstick Lounge... and it will be some shindig! And who doesn’t love a good pageant?  It will be like Miss America meets a tossed salad.

The day of the festival is jam-packed of great activities for the whole family.  Tomato themed bicycle rickshaws will transport people to various events throughout the day.  There’s a redhead contest, a tomato fashion show, live music with the Gypsy Hombres, free salsa-dancing lessons, tomato tossing, a kid’s area, and, of course, the big Tomato Art Festival Parade.

So why all the hubbub about a little red fruit (or is it a vegetable?)  Festival organizers point to its core message: the tomato, a uniter, not a divider – bringing together fruits and vegetables.  Indeed, the festival has always had a laid back open feel, and this is certainly a local event the area GLBT will enjoy.  We’ll be looking for you and your fabulous tomato outfit!

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Red Bull Unlocked Nashville

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville

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Post-Covid travel planning

Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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