190809 Tomato Day 5

Joel Kendrick takes a bite of his tomato sandwich during Tomato Sandwich Day on Friday on the south lawn of the Colbert County courthouse. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

TUSCUMBIA — Apparently, the secret to making a good tomato sandwich is pretty simple,

"A good tomato," said Tuscumbia resident Van Dillon as he sat under the white tent erected Friday on the Colbert County Courthouse lawn.

Sitting across from Dillon, Mary Hale of Tuscumbia agreed, but said she added some bacon bits to her tomato sandwich.

Tomato Sandwich Day is hosted by the Colbert County Extension Office and the county commission. One goal is to show off the quality tomatoes grown in the county.

"Even if you don't like tomatoes, it's a good fellowship event," Commissioner Tommy Barnes said.

Extension Coordinator Danny McWilliams said Commissioner David Black attended a similar event several years ago in Montgomery. Afterward, he felt like Colbert County had better tomatoes.

The next year, Colbert County started hosting its own event, which is now in its sixth year.

McWilliams said they purchased 300 pounds of tomatoes from local growers. He said the tomatoes included Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Better Boy and Big Boy varieties.

"It's our biggest event of the year," McWilliams said. "I think our tomatoes are the best in the state."

The first year, about 100 people attended Tomato Sandwich Day, but in recent years the attendance has grown to about 600 over the two-hour duration of the event.

McWilliams said the hearty Celebrity variety is good for tomato sandwiches because of its consistency.

While Hale sat and enjoyed her sandwich, her 7-year-old Dachshund, Cookie, wasn't so thrilled.

"She doesn't eat in public," Hale said. "If I took it home, she'd eat it."


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