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Ketchup with friends at first Tomato Battle

POSTED: November 3, 2011 12:30 a.m.

The fruit will be flying this weekend in Mountain City in the region's first Tomato Battle.

The creation of financiers Clint Nelson and Max Kramer, Tomato Battle is a day of music, beer and tomato throwing that organizers founded "to give people the best day of their lives."

Rabun County's first organized tomato fight will debut at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Blue Ridge Camp in Mountain City for the first such event east of the Mississippi.

The event was born out of another projectile-hurling event the men hosted annually among friends. Spokeswoman Jules Jones said that Nelson, Kramer and their friends would take boats out on a lake for their yearly "pirates versus vikings" water balloon fight.

"They just love big, fun fights," Jones said. "They wanted to think of something that was scalable with many, many more people. You can't take yourself too seriously when you're rolling around in a ton of ketchup with a bunch of other people."

The surplus "weapons" come from local farmers and food banks with unused, inedible produce.

"We would like for Tomato Battle to be an annual event in every location that we visit," Jones said. "We'll go anywhere we can get tomatoes and find the right venue and the crowd of people that want to attend."

Attendees have the option to participate or to just watch the tomatoes fly.

"We just want our events to be a positive experience for everyone," Jones said. "It sort of sells itself to the people who want to be involved."

Organizers encourage attendees not only to bring a change of clothes but also to show up dressed in costume. A costume contest will be held.

The Mountain City Tomato Battle is open to ages 14 and older. Live entertainment and beer will be offered as well. The Dirty Battle, with mud substituted for tomatoes, is Sunday.

Tickets are $29.99 for either day, $49.99 for both days.



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