Imagine the confused look on several faces when an upstart creative group approached us in 2006 to sponsor a tomato fight in the streets of Milwaukee outside of a natural food store. We knew we wanted to be involved, but weren’t sure how this could possibly work. I drove up with a ton of rotten tomatoes and 100 people each paid a nominal fee to get inside a fenced area and fling tomatoes at each other.
Fast forward 7 years. We just witnessed 400 people each paying $10 to throw 4 tons of tomatoes at each other. The participants each got tomato goo in their hair and a tee shirt to commemorate the event. The local food pantry got over $4000 to help fight hunger in the neighborhood.
This certainly was an unconventional idea – the first US tomato fight modeled after La Tomatina in Spain every August. The other events include the Best Bloody Mary contest, the Tomato Chomp (a food sampling event), live music and a costume procession leading into the Rotten Tomato Fight.
Think about what we all can do with some unconventional thinking…rotten tomatoes from the repack line cause 400 people to gather for a social event and the food pantry gets a fantastic donation. Only in America!