Sweet taste of summer lingers for Juliette Green Tomato Festival

Telegraph correspondentOctober 25, 2013 

One of fall’s favorite festivals, steeped in movie lore and delicious on the taste buds, returns this weekend to Juliette.

“The festival has been going for around a decade and we are celebrating the fact that the (‘Fried Green Tomatoes’) movie was filmed there and the Whistle Stop Cafe is still well known for its fried green tomatoes,” said Ladonna Olivieri about the Green Tomato Festival. “We always have bluegrass music starting at noon on Saturday through Sunday. We have different bands and artists and we also have a concert at the Juliette Opry Saturday night at 8 p.m.

Olivieri, who is the co-owner of Verna Cora’s Antiques & Collectibles in Juliette, said “all of the work on the festival is done by volunteers and the store owners.”

Created in 2001 to celebrate Juliette’s fame as the filming location for the movie, this arts-and-crafts festival is held annually the fourth weekend in October.

“We have about 5,000 visitors a year for the festival,” Olivieri said. “We have a lot of events for kids. We have a cake walk and the local church, Juliette United Methodist, puts together a lot of games for the kids. It’s like an old-fashioned affair. The River Club, which is a local Juliette organization, helps out with the festival, too. It’s a community event.”

Festivalgoers can peruse a variety of booths selling everything from sterling silver and handmade beaded jewelry to glass wind chimes and vintage art, walk through various shops on the street, and of course, grab a plate of fried green tomatoes.

“We have five antique stores in town that will be participating,” Olivieri said. “We also have the Whistle Stop Gift Shop and two stores, Purple Haze and Ruth’s and Idgies’, that have newer items as well. There are other food vendors and all sorts of goods to purchase. The street is closed off and we have more than 40 vendors that come in. ... We don’t charge admission. You can sit around on the front porch, listen to the music, eat good food, watch the kids run around, and watch the world go by.”

The Whistle Stop will be serving meals at the restaurant and outside with the vendors.

“Now is the time of year to pick the last of the tomatoes, before the first freeze. I’m a tomato grower myself and this is pretty much the end of the season. Of course, a lot of them aren’t ripe and this makes for a lot of green tomatoes! This is why the festival is time of year and why it’s perfect to eat a lot of fried green tomatoes,” she said.

“This festival is always a town favorite and we are looking forward to it. We want to offer a piece of the tranquility and serenity of our town to others. And, of course, we want people to have the chance to make their own memories,” Olivieri said. “That’s why we don’t charge an entry fee.”

Green Tomato Festival

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 26-27

Where: downtown Juliette

Cost: Free admission

Information: 478-992-9996

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