East Side BID
Press Release

Prepare for the East Side’s 12th Annual Tomato Romp Festival

Tomatoes to Fly on Milwaukee’s Unique East Side This Weekend

By - Sep 4th, 2018 11:02 pm
2017 Tomato Romp. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

2017 Tomato Romp. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

Milwaukee, Wis. — The 12th Annual Tomato Romp Festival returns to the East Side on Saturday, September 8th in a day of eating, drinking and throwing over-ripe tomatoes!

The East Side’s Rotten Tomato Fight for Hunger is North America’s first Tomatina-inspired rotten tomato fight, with all tomato fight proceeds donated to help end hunger in our community. This year’s goal is to raise $3,000 for the Riverwest Food Pantry. Funds raised by the Rotten Tomato Fight for Hunger will go toward Riverwest Food Pantry’s Healthy Food Fund. These funds try to lessen low-income communities’ reliance on food they know is unhealthy for their family because they cannot afford fresh produce.

“At the Riverwest Food Pantry we’ve made a commitment to our community that we will promote and distribute the healthiest food possible. That’s why we distribute more than 60,000 lbs. (and growing) of fresh produce and a growing portion of the 260,000 lbs. of food our 12,000 shoppers access annually is low sodium, no sugar and whole grain.” said Vincent Noth, Executive Director of the Riverwest Food Pantry.

The other half of the day is the endlessly popular Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Challenge among East North Avenue establishments. Eight East Side bars and restaurants compete to bring the best Absolut Bloody Mary, paired with a Bauhaus Brewlabs chaser, to the voting community. The people will choose a winner, as will a group of celebrity judges. The winner of the People’s Choice will be featured as the specialty cocktail at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts through the run of the Broadway touring presentation of Something Rotten (October 16-21, 2018). Challenge ballots can be purchased in advance by visiting www.tomatoromp.com or on September 8th at the registration desk on the corner of North Avenue and Farwell Avenue. A ballot purchase of $25 entitles the ‘voter’ a 5 oz Bloody Mary sample and beer chaser from each of the participating establishments.

Tomato Romp registration begins at 10 a.m., with the Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Challenge served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at participating East Side Bars. The Rotten Tomato Fight for Hunger will commence at 4 p.m. at the Tomato Fight location on N. Murray Avenue between E. North Avenue and E. Thomas Avenue. The Tomato Romp is hosted by the East Side Business Improvement District.

Registration 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Register for the Rotten Tomato Fight and get your Bloody Mary voting ballot on the corner of North and Farwell

Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Challenge 11 a.m – 3 p.m.

The 12th annual Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary challenge takes place among eight of the East Side’s favorite bars and restaurants. Those of legal drinking age can purchase an official Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Challenge ballot in advance by visiting www.tomatoromp.com or on September 8th on the corner of North and Farwell. A ballot purchase of $25 entitles the ‘voter’ a 5 oz Bloody Mary sample and beer chaser from each of the participating establishments. The crowning of the judges’ favorites and people’s choice will be prior to the Rotten Tomato Fight.
The Rotten Tomato Fight for Hunger 4 p.m.

Title sponsor Maglio & Company will provide 8,000 lbs. of inedible, over-ripe tomatoes for the Rotten Tomato Fight for Hunger. There is an entrance fee of $10, which includes a pair of goggles and a free T-shirt, with all fight proceeds donated to the Riverwest Food Pantry. 12 years ago Milwaukee was the first in America to host a Rotten Tomato Fight, inspired by La Tomatina in Spain, and now the event is imitated in cities across the country. The tomatoes will fly, splatter and smash on N. Murray Avenue between E. North Avenue and E. Thomas Avenue.

Registration details: Must be 16 or older to participate. Advanced registration is available by visiting www.tomatoromp.com and in-person registration begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 8th. A wash-off station will be hosted by Educators Credit Union on N. Murray Avenue. THE FIGHT IS FREE TO WATCH!


Tomato Romp is sponsored by Maglio Companies, Educators Credit Union, Gruber Law Offices, Absolut Vodka, Bauhaus Brewlabs, and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

For more information, visit www.tomatoromp.com or call 414-885-5993.


The East Side BID

The East Side Business Improvement District #20 manages and promotes the thriving commercial district along E. North Ave. on Milwaukee’s East Side and provides neighborhood enhancement programs, event production, business recruitment and economic development for the area. Visit theeastside.org for more information.

Tomato Romp Festival

Tomato Romp is Wisconsin’s only tomato festival, most known for its Rotten Tomato Fight for Hunger. The East Side was the first in North America to create a celebration of the tomato and tomato fight inspired by La Tomatina Fight in Spain. 12 years later it’s now replicated in cities across America. 8,000 pounds of over-ripe tomatoes are donated by Maglio Companies for the fight, with the fight proceeds donated to the Riverwest Food Pantry. Visit www.tomatoromp.com for more information.

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