Central Carroll: Master Gardener's Heirloom Tomato Festival set for Aug. 18

Central Carroll: Master Gardener's Heirloom Tomato Festival set for Aug. 18
Many varieties of tomatoes are set up for sampling annually at the Heirloom Tomato Festival, sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Carroll County. This year's event is set for Saturday, Aug. 18. (Baltimore Sun Media Group file)

Did you know there are more than 3,000 varieties of heirloom or heritage tomatoes still cultivated today? That is a small bit of the 15,000 known varieties. See if your taste buds can discern the difference in some of these varieties when the University of Maryland Extension holds it 15th Master Gardener Heirloom Tomato Festival on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Our mission is to support the University of Maryland Extension mission by educating residents about safe, effective, and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities,” said Carroll County Master Gardener, Susan Williamson, committee chair for the Heirloom Tomato Festival.


Look for 30 to 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes to taste. Williamson said they will have comparison sheets on hand, so people can keep track of which varieties they like and why.

“The exact number varies depending on the weather and the varieties being grown,” she said.

There will be instructions and supplies for patrons to gather seeds from their favorite tomatoes, and many Master Gardeners will be on hand to discuss the trials and tribulations involved when growing tomatoes. Resource sheets about common pests and diseases that affect tomatoes will be available as well.

“Some of the pests as well as other insects will also be on [hand to] view,” Williamson said. “These are usually a hit with the youngsters in the crowd. Also a hit with the young and young-at-heart, is Miss Tomato, who will wander through the Farmers' Market throughout the day to let people know about the festival and to hand out tomato-themed activity books and other goodies.”

Take the challenge to guess how many tomatoes are in the jar. The closes wins a gift card to Dana's Nursery.

In addition to learning about tomatoes, those who attend will find baked goods and salads that feature tomatoes. Sample the ones that appeal to you and then purchase the recipe card to take home. In addition to recipes, visitors will find t-shirts hats and other tomato themed items for sale.

Look for a raffle basket packed with garden-related paraphernalia, and buy a ticket for the drawing, to be held at the end of the day.

All proceeds go to the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener program and used to support Master Gardener programs and activities such as the Ask a Master Gardener tables which are at various Carroll County Farmers' Markets throughout the season.

Williamson encourages anyone who has gathered seeds from a past Heirloom Tomato Festival to bring in a tomato grown from those seeds.

“We have started a poster board with pictures of such tomatoes,” she said.

For more information, call 410-848-7748 or visit

Reese Car Show set for Aug. 18

Reese volunteer fire company will hold its 14th Annual Car & Truck Show on Saturday, Aug.18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the carnival grounds, 145 Baltimore Blvd. in Reese.

Registration is from 9 to 11 a.m. at a cost of $15 at the gate. The first 100 registrants receive a dash plaque. The awards presentation will take place at 3 p.m.

Secretary of the car show, Lori Bell, said: “We do not break the show down into classes. People who register their cars also get to vote on their favorite car and the top award — the Best in Show trophy — will be given to the one with the most votes. It’s our People’s Choice Award.”


Bell said 25 trophies will be given to the top vote-getters. The visiting public may vote as well, for $1 per vote.

“The car show committee chooses the winners for the five plaques that we give away,” Bell said. “Those awards are the Fire Dept. Choice, Best Engine, Best Interior, Best Paint, and the Most Potential Award.

In addition to the car show, the fourth annual Model competition is back again, by popular demand, featuring 1:25 scale plastics only. With youth classes for ages 8 -12 (who enter free) and teens classes for ages 13 to 16, and open age for all other ages, it costs $2 per entry.

The first 50 registrants will receive a goody bag,

“Ralph Dell, owner of Ledo’s Pizza in Westminster, sponsors this,” Bell said. “He comes out and does a model competition for youth, teens, and an unlimited age classes. It gives the kids an incentive to come out and enjoy the day, but we have had adults bring the models they’ve worked on as well. The model car awards ceremony — with trophies — starts just before ours, around 2:30 p.m.”

Purchase a 50/50 raffle ticket for a chance to win some money, and plan to eat lunch while you are checking out the cars. Bell said the food is prepared by Reese fire company.

“In the morning we have breakfast sandwiches with egg and cheese or ham, egg and cheese, and coffee,” said Bell. “For lunch we have hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ, French fries, chili dogs and our pizza stand is open. We will also have the ice cream and snowball stand open, and there is soda and iced tea.”

According to Bell, vendors can purchase a spot at this event as long as they do not sell food with 20 x 20-foot spaces costing $30.

Bell said this event is generally well attended.

“We register about 130 cars at each show, on the average,” she said. “And we have a lot of spectators turn out for the show. The carnival grounds are usually full.”

While 1950s music fills the air, old-timers will step back in time and reminisce about the cars they once owned, while others get a glimpse at the past. Those who show their cars are automatically entered into a drawing for donated door prizes.

“We have some companies who sponsor the show each year,” Bell said. “We put their names on a flier that goes in every goody bag and we broadcast them over the PA system all day, too. They help us with the cost of the trophies and plaques and they sometimes give us door prizes as well.”

“Participants usually put a lot of time and money in their cars,” she said. “And some of the community come out just to contribute to the fire company. Car enthusiasts who maybe can’t afford a car to show like to come out and see what others have done.”

Proceeds of this rain or shine show benefit the fire company’s general fund

“We appreciate the companies who sponsor our car show every year, the nonmembers who help us put it together, and the participants who come out to support our show,” Bell said, encouraging all to come out to the car show.

For more information, email or call 410-8485640.

Ascension holding monthly country breakfast buffet

The Church of the Ascension in Westminster holds their big Country Breakfast Buffet on the first Saturday of every month from 7 to 11 a.m. in their Fellowship Hall at the church, 23 North Court Street, Westminster.


The cost of $8 per adult and $4 for children ages 4-8 offers a breakfast with something for everyone.

Look for egg strata casserole, a variety of pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, Hahn sausage, sausage gravy and biscuits, cream chipped beef, grits, ham, assorted pastries and fruits, toast, oatmeal plus juices, milk, hot tea, hot chocolate and coffee.

Look for parking on the Ralph Street parking lot behind the Stone Church.

For more information, call 410-848-3251.