Funny thing about the Tomato Art Fest: Spending a day gorging on tomato-related foods in the summer sun, we all get just a little redder and rounder. With all due respect to Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least around these streets. And it’s here. So we’ll share a few last-minute Tomato Fest tidbits in this week’s news roundup, along with a few things that have nothing to do with East Nashville’s biggest celebration.
On to it:
Get prepped for the Tomato Art Fest
The Tomato Art Fest’s already going, really (with the Tomato King and Queen crowned Thursday night), but it kicks up Friday with a free concert and the Tomato Art Pre-View Party (which, as of this posting, was nearly sold out, and which will include works like the one pictured up top), along with a few other bits of fun.
Saturday, however, brings out the big crowds and the bulk of the tomato revelry. Attacking something this full of stuff takes some planning, and the official festival map comes in handy there, as does the map above — it comes via the East Precinct, and notes fest road closures. If you're new to the fest: Parking tends to be… let’s call it a challenge. But they say nothing good comes easy.
Many/most/all-ish neighborhood businesses are in the tomato spirit, debuting and/or sharing new creations or offering bonuses to fest-goers — and that stretches from 5 Points out.
For starters: Pied Piper Creamery is unveiling a brand new tomatoey flavor of ice cream Saturday; Chocolate F/X is showing off brand new roasted tomato truffles for their first fest; Nashville Sweets has cheesy tomato basil scones for you, tomato dog treats for your pups. Smoker’s Abbey is offering a 20 percent discount on any cigar, and Artisan East Goods & Good Finds is shaving 20 percent off any offerings with so much as a splotch of red. Those are but a few.
For the full rundown of fest events, take some time with TomatoArtFest.com — there’s a ton to do, from contests and competitions to music to a giant ice cream sundae. The most wonderful time of the year.
New Five Points Pizza window now open
Kinda related: If you hadn’t heard/noticed already, you’ll see during your fest wanderings that Five Points Pizza’s much-talked-about expansion — including slice window — is now open and serving. They’re also open Tuesdays now. Congrats, FPP — that’s a window that goes straight into many of our souls.
Stratton Exteriors helps put more East Nashville in ‘Nashville’
Our neighborhood’s spent a lot of time lamenting home tear-downs of late, so let’s eye a neighborhood home renovation with a happy/famous-ish twist:
Inglewood-based Stratton Exteriors and Urban Properties recently completed a big renovation and beautification project on a Lockeland Springs home, and it looks like Nashville viewers will be seeing a lot (or at least a little) of it in the coming season. The home was sold to Nashville director of photography Michael Lohmann, who thought it’d be perfect for the show. So it’s set to be a… set.
Above, a little inside view into the renovation, courtesy of Stratton.
Swing Higher helps rehab Fred Douglas Park
More positive neighborhood-rehab news, this time with fewer doors involved:
Local organization Swing Higher Playgrounds started up in 2012 with an aim of aiding children by helping to build and support community playspaces. This weekend, Swing Higher and volunteers get to work on their first playground project here in East Nashville, rebuilding and improving Douglas Park near Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School.
The project started with a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $64,000; on Friday, those folks start prepping and building. Swing Higher notes that nearly 600 children under 14 live within a half mile radius of the park, and those kids — along with many other East Nashvillians — will have access to a warm and welcoming playspace once the project is completed.
To learn more or get involved, check out Swing Higher’s website.
Morris Jacobs Building being revitalized, too
Continuing on a positive thread: The folks at Save the Roxy Theater shared some good news about their corner of the neighborhood. The 1940s-era building next to the Roxy, formerly home to Morris Jacobs Dry Goods and Red Cross Pharmacy, is under renovation, and plans are for it to be completed in November — a year after the Roxy Revival Festival shined a light on the possibilities in the area. (The above photo: from the Save the Roxy Theater Facebook page.)
It’s meant to be a commercial space, potentially housing two businesses if subdivided. It’d been empty for two decades. Raise a glass to the STRT folks for a win born of hard work.
High Garden Tea makes a move
Friday brings opening day for apothecary-style tea shop High Garden’s new, larger Shoppes on Fatherland space.
The new spot — 1006 Fatherland, streetfront shop 301 — has seating for up to 20 with full tea service, along with all the loose leaf teas and hand-prepared herbal infusions and related fun neighbors have come to know and love. Congrats to you too, High Garden.
Free big-band fun at Amqui Station
If you find yourself headed north post-Tomato Fest Saturday, Amqui Station in Madison has an outdoor concert planned that’ll particularly appeal to big-band aficionados.
The 20-piece Moonlighters are set to share songs from the 1930s through the ’50s — Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman — from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Amqui Visitor’s Center (301 Madison St. #B, Madison), which also hosts a fine farmers market (and many of us) on Sundays.
The concert is free (though donations will be accepted), and you’re encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit and enjoy.
New monthly night market in the works
Something to keep an eye on for the fall: Folks from Outlier Nashville are working to launch Beat, a monthly two-night artists’ market over in the lot next to Bongo.
The focus is on giving artisans and the folks who love their wares a new place to congregate and sell/buy/ogle/share/celebrate the talented creative community in our midst.
The first market is scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13, and organizers are accepting applications now. For more, eye the Outlier website.
Russian hackers ruining our fun
In a bit of WTF-style news: You may have noticed recently that our beloved East Nashville Farmers Market’s website is down. Hosting glitch? Database bummer? Oh no. Russian. Hackers.
WSMV (above) talked with Hank Delvin about the domain thievery, and while bizarre, it’s also a legitimate drag, since it’s a pretty key ENFM information-spreading tool. Meantime, there’s the East Nashville Farmers Market Facebook page.
No tomatoes for you, Russian hackers.
That’s all for this week. We remain thoroughly interested in your East Nashville news, so please share.