HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Unlike in year's past, when you come to the Hanover County Tomato Festival on Saturday, you'll go in one way and out another.
From entertainment to games to, of course, tomatoes, what started as a modest fundraiser for the Black Creek Fire Department more than three decades ago has become the largest spectator event in Hanover County.
"If Mother Nature cooperates, we hope to have another 40,000 folks or so," said Marcy Durrer with Hanover Parks and Rec.
As the festival grows more popular, organizers work to get people in and out easier. This year, you'll drive in on the main entrance to Pole Green Park, but you'll go out a different way parallel to Tate Lane.
"Every year the Tomato Festival has grown; we have each year tried to improve the traffic flow so that the growth would not eliminate the number of people coming in, and it would not slow them down on their entrance or exit," said Lt. Kenny Epling with the Hanover County Sheriff's Office.
"This year we have a dedicated exit lane which will run directly behind the event on Park and Hanover County Schools property," Durrer said.
While the new traffic pattern should make the flow of cars smoother, it will also mean people may only be allowed to turn right out of the park, especially during peak times.
That means you should know your way around beforehand if you would usually turn left onto Pole Green Road.
"We are estimating that 95% of the traffic will come down Pole Green from 295, and that's the way we want people to come from, and then they will come back out of the park and turn right to go back out the same way," said Epling.
Festival organizers have also worked to make the layout of the festival easier once you get inside. Food vendors are now spread out instead of in one specific corridor and the entertainment stage is closer to the front. Admission is free.
The 33rd annual Hanover Tomato Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville.
The park is located on Pole Green Road off of exit 38a on Interstate 295. If you need more information, call Hanover Parks and Rec at 365-4695.