Originally created 07/31/05

Festival goers like their tomatoes green



A bumper crop of green tomatoes has turned into a community event.

Yvonne Baughman, the owner of the Country Ranch in Beech Island, said one of her customers, Billy Ruth, came to her with a proposition nine years ago.

"He had an overstock of green tomatoes, and he asked if I could use them," she said.

She decided to hold an outdoor festival and fundraiser with the surplus harvest.

The ninth annual Fried Green Tomato Festival and Adopt-a-Family Benefit will be held Saturday at Country Ranch, 2510 Storm Branch Road. The festivities will begin at 2 p.m. and last until midnight.

Proceeds from the event are used to provide "an emergency-type assistance" for families in need, Mrs. Baughman said.

In the past, she said, the fundraiser has benefited several families who have been involved in accidents or whose homes have burned.

"If I have a family in need, I just let people know," she said, "and they just start donating."

There is no charge for the fried green tomatoes, Mrs. Baughman said. Other vendors, however, charge for their food, which will include barbecue, funnel cake and lemonade.

Five bands are scheduled to play for the event. Activities also will include a motorcycle exhibit and a classic car show.

Festivalgoers can bring lawn chairs, but they are asked to leave coolers at home.

Last year, Mrs. Baughman said, about 1,000 people attended the festival. She said she hoped to have a similar turnout this year.

"The money that I raise from that, I use all year long" to help families in need, she said.

For more information, call (803) 867-2388.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

If you go

WHAT: Fried Green Tomato Festival and Adopt-a-Family Benefit

WHERE: Country Ranch, 2510 Storm Branch Road, Beech Island

WHEN: 2 p.m.-midnight, Saturday

Phone: 867-2388