People visiting the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival this weekend are welcome to bring items to donate to the local food pantry but should leave their pets at home.
Unlike past years, only service dogs will be allowed into the 49th annual Tomato Festival.
The Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department has issued a "no pets" restriction for both days of the festival, which runs from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at Huber Park, 1520 Davidson Drive.
"The purpose of the ban is to promote the safety of citizens moving about the park," department spokeswoman Michelle Brennan said. "Service animals would be allowed, but otherwise, no pets."
Brennan said anyone who brings a pet will be asked to leave the park and return without the animal.
Festival visitors who want to view Saturday's student art show at City Hall are asked to bring canned goods or nonperishable items such as cereal or boxes of macaroni and cheese to give to the Reynoldsburg Helping Hands food pantry.
The new Tomato Festival Kids Art Exhibition will be open from noon to 6 p.m. at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.
Donna Boiman, owner of the Central Ohio Art Academy, 7437 E. Main St., said the art show will feature work by students from pre-kindergarten through high school. Entries will be judged by Jessica Lattrell, a former New Albany resident, who is working on her master's degree in art therapy and psychology. Awards will be presented at 4 p.m. Saturday.
"We've had some especially good entries for the show," Boiman said. "Some are Tomato Festival-themed and others are not."
Boiman said she organized a student art show "about 20 years ago" at the festival, then someone else did it for awhile, "but it sort of disappeared."
"It seemed like a great opportunity for children of all ages, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, so I wanted to bring it back," she said. "Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Tomato Festival, so we might want to use two floors of the municipal building for the show."
Boiman said she is committed to this year and next year's shows, but might find someone else to organize the student art show after that.
"I've also had several adults ask if we could have an adult division of the show and I think that might be a good idea for next year, to be held at the Senior Center," she said.
Many of the exhibitors are her students from Reynoldsburg, Pickerington and Blacklick, she said.
"A lot of the kids participating are from my Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation classes," Boiman said.