East Side BID
Press Release

The East Side Business Improvement District’s 11th Annual Tomato Romp Festival

The Tomato Romp is North America’s first rotten tomato fight for a good cause.

By - Aug 10th, 2017 10:44 am

Milwaukee, Wis. — The 11th Annual Tomato Romp Festival is set to take place on Saturday, September 9th on Milwaukee’s East Side in a day of eating, drinking and throwing over-ripe tomatoes! The Tomato Romp is North America’s first rotten tomato fight for a good cause with all tomato fight proceeds donated to help end hunger in our community. This year our goal is to raise $3,000 for the Riverwest Food Pantry.

“We will allocate the money raised from the Tomato Romp to our Healthy Food Fund. $1 out of every $10 of the three trillion we spend on healthcare in the US is now diabetes related care. Diabetes hits low income communities hardest. 80% of shoppers in pantries report buying food they know is unhealthy for their family because they cannot afford fresh produce.” said Vincent Noth, Executive Director of the Riverwest Food Pantry.

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 Noth.

The day’s activities include an Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Challenge among East North Avenue establishments, live music and a costume procession led by the Paradigm Drumline to the Tomato Fight. Tomato Romp registration begins at 10 a.m., with Bloody Mary’s served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at participating East Side Bars. The Tomato Fight 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 Tomato Fight and get your Bloody Mary voting ballot near the Beans & Barley parking lot 1901 E. North Ave.

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

The 11th annual Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary challenge takes place among seven of the East Side’s favorite bars and restaurants. Those of legal drinking age can purchase an official Tomato Romp! ballot in advance by visiting www.tomatoromp.com or on September 9th in front of Beans & Barley. A ballot purchase of $25 entitles the ‘voter’ a 5 oz Bloody Mary sample and beer chaser from each of the participating establishments. Voting then begins at 3 p.m. with the crowning of the East Side’s Bloody Mary judges champion at 4 PM and the fan favorite will be announced a few days after the event.

Costume Contest & Procession to Tomato Fight 3:30 p.m.

It has become a tradition for many tomato fight fans to dress in costume for the fight. This year all tomato fighters are invited to return back to the registration area near Beans & Barley 1901 E. North Ave by 3:30 p.m. to be led by a Paradigm Drumline in a sidewalk procession to the Tomato Fight. A Best Costume prize will be awarded during opening ceremonies.

The Rotten Tomato Fight to help end hunger in our community 4 p.m.

This year our sponsor Maglio & Company will provide 8,000 lbs. of inedible, over-ripe tomatoes for the Tomato Fight. There is an entrance fee of $10 and it includes a pair of goggles and a free T-shirt, with all fight proceeds donated to the Riverwest Food Pantry. 11 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 9th in the Beans & Barley parking lot at 1901 E. North Ave. A wash-off station will be hosted by Educators Credit Union on N. Murray Avenue. THE FIGHT IS FREE TO WATCH!

Live Music

Shake your tomato throughout the Tomato Romp festivities with live music beginning at 11:00am. FM 102.1 will also provide music from 2 – 5 PM near the Tomato Fight cage on N. Murray Avenue.


Tomato Romp is sponsored by Maglio Companies, Educators Credit Union, Gruber Law Offices, Absolut Vodka, Milwaukee Brewing CompanyFM 102.1 Milwaukee Radio, OnMilwaukee, Milwaukee Record, Info* Milwaukee Magazine and Yelp.

For more information, visit www.tomatoromp.com or call 414-272-5823.

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. 11 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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