Central Carroll: Heirloom tomatoes galore at festival; Reese car show; donations sought for community center

The Carroll County Master Gardeners' Heirloom Tomato Festival, pictured in 2014, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carroll County Agriculture Center.
The Carroll County Master Gardeners' Heirloom Tomato Festival, pictured in 2014, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carroll County Agriculture Center. (Carolyn Seabolt)

It’s garden season, the best time of year.

Wow your gardening friends with a wealth of knowledge about tomatoes after attending the 2019 Heirloom Tomato Festival, sponsored by the Carroll County Master Gardeners. Their 16th annual festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carroll County Agriculture Center inside the upper buildings, sharing space with the Farmer’s Market.


Pat Brodowski started the Heirloom Tomato Festival in 2003 when she was a Carroll County resident and a member of the Carroll County Master Gardeners. Now she is the vegetable gardener for Monticello.

Brodowski said, “I started the festival in 2003 because we were growing a couple dozen different varieties of heirloom tomato and I wanted to share them with the public. I put a sign at the entrance and attracted a few people. The next year, we were growing 70 varieties in alphabetical order on the fence of the heirloom garden. We had live music and served cut tomatoes on blue willow plates. I was inspired by the festival In California that Clint Eastwood was doing. I asked the public to bring tomatoes they’d grown to compare. We had a huge response.”


The festival continues today with others at the helm.

“Everyone loves growing and eating tomatoes,” said Marty Hankins, Master Gardener and head of publicity. “Imagine tasting many different varieties, learning how to save seeds and sample a variety of different foods made from tomatoes, including tarts, pies, cookies, cakes, salads and other yummy treats, all for free!”

Did you know there are more than 3,000 varieties of heirloom or heritage tomatoes still cultivated today? That’s only a few of the 15,000 known varieties, and each one has a flavor all its own. You can sample dozens of heirloom tomatoes at the festival, to see which are your favorites, and then take home the recipes.

“Recipe cards for foods will be available for 25 cents each,” Hankins said.


At the festival, you can learn about heirloom tomatoes, how to grow them and how to save their seeds. Hankins said supplies and directions will be available for saving seeds.

“Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions about growing tomatoes and other gardening questions,” Hankins said. “There will be a bug table to help identify tomato [pests] and other garden pests, [plus] a sales table with T-shirts and other tomato-themed items, and Miss Tomato with items for kids. "

While there, purchase breakfast and lunch from the Farmer’s Market staff in the kitchen. Say hello to Miss Tomato, who will wander the market to hand out fun activities for kids. Then try to win a prize by guessing how many tomatoes are in a jar.

Hankins said the "guess the number of tomatoes contest” has a $50 prize – a gift certificate to Dana's Flower and Garden in Littlestown, Pennsylvania. You can also enter a raffle for a basket of gardening supplies and goodies.

All proceeds of the tomato festival will go to the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener program and be used to support Master Gardener programs and activities such as the Ask a Master Gardener tables which are at a various Carroll County farmer’s markets throughout the season.

Hankins said, “The Heirloom Tomato Festival only happens once a year. Love to garden? Come learn about growing heirloom tomatoes in your own garden! Love to cook? Come learn to include tomatoes in your recipes in surprising ways. Enjoy tomatoes? Come celebrate this favorite summertime fruit in many ways.”

The Carroll County Ag Center is at 706 Agricultural Drive in Westminster. For more information, call 410-848-7748 or visit www.carrollcountyfarmersmarket.com/carrollcountyfarmersmarket.html.

For even more on tomatoes, Hankins and Kay Sedlak will do a presentation about Heirloom Tomatoes at the Taneytown branch library on Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 6:30 p.m. The session is free, but registration is required. Register at https://ccpl.librarymarket.com/events/master-gardeners-heirloom-tomatoes

15th annual Car Show at Reese fire company

The Reese fire company will hold its 15th annual Car & Truck Show on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the carnival grounds, at 145 Baltimore Blvd. in Reese, with fancy cars, vendor sales, food and a model car display.

Registration is from 9 to 11 a.m. at a cost of $15 per car at the gate. The first 100 registrants receive a dash plaque. There will be 25 awards. The top four awards will be decided by impartial, independent judges.

Lori Bell, secretary of the show, said the cars are not broken down into classes.

“Those awards are the Best in Show, the Fire Dept Choice, Best Engine, Best Interior and the Best Paint," she said. "The next 20 awards are decided by the votes of participants.”

In addition to the car show, a model car display will be set up for folks to see. Kids ages 8 to 16 may bring their favorite models to display. The display is sponsored by Ledo Pizza, who handles this portion of the show.

Bell said breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase.

“The fire company will sell food and drinks and snowballs. In the morning we have breakfast sandwiches and coffee and for lunch we have hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ, french fries, chili dogs and pizza, plus snowballs and soda and iced tea.”

Purchase a 50/50 raffle ticket for a chance to win some money, and then shop the vendor stands. According to Bell, vendors can purchase a spot at this event as long as they do not sell food. Twenty-by-20-foot spaces cost $30.

“Most of our vendors sell something related to cars,” she said. “One vendor has waxes, one vendor has tires, wheels and rims. It is that sort of thing, items related to cars.”

While ’50s music fills the air, you can step back in time and reminisce about the cars of days past. Those who show their cars are automatically entered into a drawing for donated door prizes.

“Anyone who sponsors us gets free advertisement, too,” Bell said. “We put the names out there on a flyer that all participants get in their bags and we announce the names over our PA system.”

Bell said they appreciate their sponsors and those who turn out each year, and the proceeds go to a good cause, benefiting the fire company’s general fund.

“Come out for a fun day, good food and to see some amazing cars and trucks,” she said.

The rain date for this show is Aug. 24.

For more information, email carshow@reesevfc.org or call 410-848-5640.

Donate to Rise Up Community Center

In 2017 the nonprofit Together We Own It and inPOWER Inc. joined hands to work toward the same mission; to serve local youth who remain disengaged from their community. They founded a community center called Rise Up Community Center in Westminster.

You can help them by making a donation of one or more of the following items: Ziploc bags, trash bags, hand soap, dish soap, new white socks, tampons and pads, disposable razors, sharpies, bottled water, reusable water bottles, food storage containers with lids, copy paper, envelopes, paper towels, Clorox wipes, and toilet paper.


Donations can be dropped at the center, located at 280 E. Main St., Suite 100, in Westminster or at the Westminster art studio COB51, at TownMall of Westminster.


The youth-driven program offered by Rise Up provides a safe space for youth to discover their strengths and abilities and to explore opportunities for success through community engagement, restorative practices and positive youth development. Their programs are run by volunteers and thrive off the generosity of the community. Can you help?

For more information email them at info@weareriseup.org or call 410-878 3104.

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. Reach her at 443-293-7811 or LoisSzymanski@hotmail.com

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