Festival offers tomato-flavored fun

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Festival offers tomato-flavored fun

You can throw them, stomp them and even try to swim in them.
Local tomato farmers from Toechon, Gyeonggi province, are taking their freshest crop to the market and saving the softer ones for games, just in time for its annual tomato fiesta.
There will be a children’s competition to see who can pile tomatoes the highest, tomato roulette for adults and, of course, tomato fights.
It may not be as big as La Tomatina Tomato Festival in Spain, but the organizers say 80 tomato farms around Toechon county are participating and have agreed to donate more than 100 boxes (one box contains 5 kilograms, or 11 pounds) of tomatoes for the fight alone.
The third annual Toechon Tomato Festival starts this afternoon. Admission is free and promoters plan to pass out souvenir t-shirts for those who need new clothes after the tomato showdown.
The organizers are hoping the visitors will purchase tomatoes on their way home as well.
“Toechon is famous for its fresh organic tomatoes,” said Jang Yeong-ri, promoter for the festival. “They are cultivated without agricultural chemicals and bees pollinate the flowers inside greenhouses.”
Although the rural festival attracted more than 100,000 visitors last year, farmers are worried the number will not be as high this year.
According to weather reports, the monsoon season started this week.
“But the festival will go on anyway,” said a organizer from the Toechon county office. “We are also famous for the beautiful scenery around the town with Paldang Lake and Namhan fortress wall nearby.”


by Lee Min-a

Starting today, the Tomato Festival runs until Sunday in Toechon county, Gyeonggi province. To get there by car, take the Jungbu Expressway from Seoul and turn toward the Gyeongan Interchange and take an exit to Toechon county. From the Jamsil area, head for Seongnam and Gwangju until you reach Toechon. Or take bus no. 13-2 departing from in front of the Gangbyeon subway station. For more information, call, (031) 767-3736 or visit, http://tomato.gjcity.go.kr.

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