• Marché starts it off with the Tomato Wine Dinner tomorrow (Wednesday) night. Four tomato-centric courses paired with wines from Woodland Wine Merchant for just $50 per person. Reservations are required, so call 615-262-1111 to see if there’s still a spot available. 1000 Main St.
• If you miss out on Marché, there’s also a wine dinner Thursday night at Rumours East. Just $25 gets you four light courses (from the patio menu) and wine. Reservations aren’t required, but are probably a good idea: 615-262-5346. Rumours East will also have a tomato-themed menu available starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Turnip Truck is joining the fun with a variety of tomato-themed food available for purchase all day Saturday as well. Rumours East: 1112 Woodland St. The Turnip Truck: 970 Woodland St.
But the real fun is on Saturday; here are the food-related events you should not miss:
• The recipe contest judging will be held at Margot at 2 p.m. The judging is not open to the public, but if you’d like to enter the competition, act fast because only the first 25 people to request a spot will be accepted. Email email@example.com to get in on the action. This year’s theme is “sandwich,” so get creative, and the best three sandwiches will get prizes. Last year’s “salad” competition was fierce, so I recommend something more unique than a BLT. The competition is sponsored by the Nashville Farmers' Market, and drop-off is between 1:15 and 1:45 p.m. at Margot, 1017 Woodland St.
• And there’s another recipe contest that some of you might find a little more interesting: 3 Crow Bar is hosting the competition for the best Bloody Mary. They're no longer accepting contestant entries, but you can see the top 10 finalists and probably taste a few, too. The event takes place at 3 p.m. at 3 Crow Bar, 1024 Woodland St.
• Starting at noon, kids ages 2-10 can participate in creating the largest ice cream sundae in Nashville. It’s hosted by the Pied Piper Creamery, so you know it will be good. The best part: the kids get to eat the giant ice cream sundae. Noon at Pied Piper Creamery, at 114 S. 11th St.
• Another competition that should be strong, but isn't something that will tempt your palate (probably), is the Biggest/Littlest/Ugliest Tomato Contest. Drop off your contenders at the Nashville Farmers' Market booth between 10 a.m. and noon, but be warned: I've got winners in two of those categories on my countertop right now. I'm certain of it.
• Last — but not least! — if, by the end of the day, you find yourself wanting something other than a tomato, then there's yet another competition for you: Nuvo Burrito is hosting the Wet Burrito Contest. If you've ever had a Nuvo burrito, you know that it's easy to eat, so the challenge comes from doing so while being hosed down. Awards will go to the "fastest face filler" and "best in show" for both men's and women's categories. The key, though, is that to be chosen for entry. Judges will choose contestants based on who will best represent Nuvo Burrito and the Tomato Art Festival. See the events page for more details. 1000 Main St., #103 (in the back).
Of course, along with all the great food and food competitions, there will be art! And music and activities for the kids. For details, check out the fest's news page. Also important to know: TDOT is suspending construction on I-24 this weekend (no road closures!), so getting to and from the festival won't be a problem.