History

The Hanover Tomato Festival - Celebrating 40 years! 

Forty years ago, the members of the Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department were looking for a way to raise money for the Department. Led by the president Larry Sutton and the Chief, Oscar Watson, they began to explore new ways of funding for the firehouse. It was decided to hold a small local festival at the old fire station. But what would be the theme of the festival? Ashland had the Camptown Races & Urbanna had the Oyster Festival. What did Black Creek have that would be unique to the area. Looking around the rural community, The only thing one saw then were fields of vegetables especially tomatoes. So it was decided to name the festival Hanover Tomato Festival. The first festival was held at the station & consisted of Fireman’s Parade & contests as well as a tomato eating contest. Local homemakers brought samples of the many dishes prepared using the tomatoes. The early crowds were small, but the festival soon outgrew the station site. In 1999, it was decided to move the festival to Battlefield Park Elementary School. The festival continued to grow with the addition of arts & craft vendors selling all types of items. It was during this time that the festival became too large for the Fire Department to sponsor alone. There was talk of having to stop having the festival due to a lack of manpower. The Hanover County Parks & Rec approached the Fire Department to help with the manpower & planning.

When the new park at Pole Green opened it was decided to move the festival there due to the increasing number of people attending the festival. Also, during this time, The Herald Progress newspaper came on board as a sponsor to assist in marketing the festival.

Each year after, the festival has grown until it is the largest single day event in Hanover County. All of the tomatoes for the festival have been provided by a local farmer named Robbie Dodd. Sadly, Mr. Dodd passed away last year, but the tomatoes are still grown locally by Farmers in Hanover.

The Festival today is still sponsored by the Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department with its partners Hanover County Parks & Recreation and the Mechanicsville Local Newspaper. All of the profits from the Festival go to Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department to purchase equipment that the County does not provide.