The Big Banana

Sacratomato? Sacrabanana? Sacramento may be going through an identity crisis.

Sacratomato? Sacrabanana? Sacramento may be going through an identity crisis.

The inaugural Banana Festival will be Friday, August 13, through Sunday, August 15; tickets are $5 general admission, $15 for a family four-pack, free for children 11 and under. Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway;
The Woodland Tomato Festival will be Saturday, August 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; free; Freeman Park, 1001 Main Street in Woodland;

Cosumnes River College

8401 Center Pkwy.
Sacramento, CA 95823

(916) 691-7344

Freeman Park

1001 Main St.
Woodland, CA 95695

(530) 666-2626

Sacramento goes by many names: Capital City, Sactown, River City, Big Tomato, City of Trees and, perhaps, the Big Banana.

Sure, there’s a noticeable lack of banana trees in the Sacramento area, but that’s not stopping Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum, which will host a three-day Banana Festival this weekend. OK, so the festival won’t feature Sacramento’s flourishing banana cultivation, but it will celebrate those cultures around the globe that do grow bananas, such as Central and South America, Africa, India and the Caribbean. The event also is a fundraiser for the museum.

There will be a chef challenge, poetry slam with Terry Moore, banana line dancing, a 5K run, health demos, art displays, music by a variety of bands and more.

However, the banana is not replacing the tomato completely—at least, not yet. During the same weekend, Sacramentans can celebrate their favorite juicy red fruit/vegetable at the Woodland Tomato Festival on Saturday, August 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Yes, there remains a debate on the categorization of the tomato: Botanists claim it’s a fruit, since it technically is the fruit of a plant and has seeds, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1893 that it was a veggie and subject to import tariffs. No matter the label, it’s delicious and worthy of celebration.

This festival will feature free tastings of salsas and a variety of heirloom tomatoes, as well as a tomato-wars challenge, where six chefs will attempt to create the tastiest tomato dish. There also will be information about growing and preserving tomatoes, food vendors and a farmers’ market.