Do you want to partake in some fun and easy humanitarian work this weekend? Head to North Avenue for the 11th annual Tomato Romp, a festival celebrating Bloody Marys and the medieval, messy pleasure of throwing tomatoes at people ... for charity, of course. Here's why you should clear your Saturday schedule for the red and green event.
1. The Bloodies!
For a mere $25, attendees can drink 5-ounce Bloody Mary samples – with 3-ounce beer chasers for each, naturally – from each of the competing East Side establishments. We're not great at math, but that adds up to a whole lot of tasty, tomato-y alcoholic goodness. The Best Bloody Mary winner will be crowned after judges cast their votes for their favorite Bloody, and the fan favorite – yes, until 3 p.m., you have a vote, too – will be announced a few days after the event.
Eight East Side bars will be pouring out samples of the beloved tomato juice cocktail: Von Trier, Landmark Lanes, Vitucci’s, Buddha Lounge, Eastsider, Hooligan’s, Vintage and Yokohama. This year’s competition pits Milwaukee classics like Von Trier and Landmark against newcomer Yokohama. Who will come out on top? Taste and see!
3. FOOD FIGHT!
Over 8,000 pounds of overripe, inedible tomatoes are being donated to the infamous Rotten Tomato Fight. A $10 ticket includes safety goggles and the rare opportunity to throw tomatoes at people without consequence. Plus, all those tomatoes are being chucked for a noble cause, as all proceeds from the event will be donated to the Riverwest Food Pantry’s Healthy Food Fund.
4. A Milwaukee first
Did you know Milwaukee is the first city in North America to host a Rotten Tomato Fight? Inspired by La Tomatina in Spain, the Milwaukee romp is the longest running rotten tomato fight in America, with 2017 marking the fight’s eleventh year on the East Side. Other fights are now held in various cities across the U.S. courtesy of Milwaukee’s fresh idea.
5. The drumline
Paradigm Drumline will lead this year’s costume procession down North Avenue. Tomato fighters have a tradition of dressing to impress, and the best dressed attendee will be rewarded accordingly. Whoever wins this year's costume contest will receive a secret prize as well in addition to bragging rights for an entire year.
Tickets for the tomato fight and the Bloody Mary Challenge are still available at the East Side BID's website.