As summer in the city heats up, Reynoldsburg is turning red – tomato red, that is – as coordinators prepare for the Red Ride, ask for nominations for Reynoldsburg Tomato Queen and nail down entertainment and events for next month's Tomato Festival.

Red Ride Bike Tour

Called the "Red Ride" to honor the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, the bicycle tour starts at 9 a.m. July 29 at the Gazebo at JFK Park, 7232 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg.

"This fun event is in its second year and replaces the Firecracker 5K," said Mary Hudson, director of the Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce. "Plus, this is a good way to get ready for the Pelotonia ride."

Sponsored by Mount Carmel Health, the tour offers an eight-mile round trip and a longer 14-mile round trip.

Registration costs $15 and is available at the gazebo prior to the ride. The fee includes the ride and a T-shirt.

Maps of the Red Ride routes are available online at www.ridewithgps.com/routes/14405986 and www.ridewithgps.com/routes/14406143

For questions, call Hudson at 614-866-4888.

Queen candidates

Tomato Festival committee member Mike Motz said nominations are still open for Tomato Queen, but they must be emailed or delivered by Aug. 4 in order to be considered.

"The Tomato Queen is a highly prestigious festival tradition that began in 1966," he said. "Being selected queen is an honor and a thrill, as the queen travels to fairs and festivals throughout central Ohio and participates in local civic events."

He said the Tomato Queen will represent the people of Reynoldsburg and the Tomato Festival.

Each contestant must be 15 years old by Aug. 18, a high school sophomore,junior or senior for the 2017-18 school year and must reside with a parent or guardian within the Reynoldsburg school district.

Nomination forms are available online at reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org and can be emailed to Motz at mikemotz1211@embarqmail.com or mailed or delivered to 1819 Chimney Hill Court, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068.

This year's contest will culminate with an on-stage competition at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, at Huber Park, the first day of the Tomato Festival.

Motz said nominations must include full name, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth and school.

"Past candidates are eligible and welcome to be nominated," he said.

Tomato Festival

Hudson said the 52nd annual Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival is scheduled from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at Huber Park, 1520 Davidson Drive.

Live bands playing Friday evening include Ambush, followed by The Jack; featured on Saturday will be Perfect Timing and McGuffey Lane. A schedule of events is at reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org/schedule2013.html

"Our popular beer garden will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. both days, with Friday night being designated as Chamber Night in the beer garden," Hudson said.

Events include a car show, children's games and inflatables, a climbing wall, pony rides and the Heartland Bank hot air balloon. There also will be a spaghetti-eating contest and a pizza tasting.

"Chamber Night in the beer garden also will be a great networking opportunity and a chance to showcase local businesses," Hudson said.

She said a core committee of about a dozen people organizes the festival.

"We are always talking about ways to improve and enlarge the festival without losing the hometown feel," she said. "As the world gets scarier and scarier, planning a community festival just feels like the right thing to do.

"And those of us that do it all enjoy it and the friendships we have formed in the process."

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek