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Great Tomato Festival set for Aug. 11

An ad appearing in the August 1989 edition of The Minot Daily News announced a tomato festival being planned in Minot.

The Great Tomato Festival would have a gourmet picnic, a great vacation get away auction, chocolate cake contest and music by Bugsy Boys, according to the ad.

Now 32 years later the festival, established by Jeff and Peggy Miller, continues and is a popular fundraising event having benefited several nonprofit organizations over the years. The current beneficiaries are the Taube Museum of Art and the Minot Symphony Orchestra. All net proceeds from ticket sales and silent auction are directly granted to the nonprofit organizations.

This year’s Great Tomato Festival will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at the North Dakota State Fair Center’s 4-H Hall.

According to organizers:

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with a social hour beginning at 6 p.m., and dinner to follow at 7 p.m. Those attending must be 21 years old.

The gourmet picnic menu includes smoked pork chops cooked by master chefs, a top-secret recipe of roasted tomatoes stuffed with rice, along with chips and salsa, tomato and cucumber salad, beer batter bread and brownies.

Mobile bidding is new to the festival this year and will make check in and check out easier and faster.

Attendees can pre-register to receive their bidding number and view items online in advance. Visit https://gtf.cbo.io to register and view auction items. The mobile bidding will open Monday, Aug. 9.

An event ticket is not required to bid, allowing everyone near and far the opportunity to support the event through the mobile bidding platform.

The physical items will be at the event for in-person viewing. There will be exclusive items in-person that will not be available on the digital platform. “Bidding Butlers” will be available at the event for anyone without a mobile device to place bids on their behalf.

The festival will include live music, a social hour featuring tomato hors d’oeuvres, creative tomato displays, Great Getaway raffle, silent and live auction. The Great Getaway raffle winner will receive their choice of one of three trips for two people: Airstream camping near Yosemite or the Russian River; NASCAR racing experience; or weekend getaway to New York.

The silent auction features over 200 auction items, including tickets for things to do in and around Minot, restaurant meals, kids’ activities, vacation stays, art, furniture and more. The live auction includes vacation destination getaways, a cheesecake donated by Michelle Schoenberg (recently featured at the Symphony Secret Garden Tour), a one-of-a-kind Walter Piehl original, VIP symphony parking and more.

Entries are still being accepted for the Great Chocolate Cake Revival. Bakers can enter a chocolate cake into the Great Chocolate Cake Revival Contest. The cakes will be available to bid on in-person at the event and the highest bidder will take it home that evening. The cake with the overall highest bid will receive a gift certificate to Gourmet Chef.

Anyone who would like to volunteer for the event, is asked to contact Ellen Fenner at 858-4228 or visit www.greattomatofestival.com to sign up.

Where to get tickets

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the Taube Museum of Art, Artmain, Minot Public Library, North Star Community Credit Union Minot and Minot Air Force Base locations, or online at www.greattomatofestival.com.

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