French Lick Tomato Festival Kicks off Saturday

(FRENCH LICK) – The First Annual French Lick Tomato Festival is set to kick off on Saturday.

President Donna Wininger said the festival has something for everyone, from children to adults, from food to games.

Festivities will run from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.

There will be a bounce house and Corn Hole Cash Contest sponsored by Legendz. They are also sponsoring bands throughout the evening from 8 p.m.11 p.m.

Visit French Lick West Baden is sponsoring a lawn Jenga game from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

A variety of vendor booths will be set up on the Town Green and Main Street including Chris’ Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Rasbury’s Sno Biz (shaved ice), Sullivan’s Sweets and Ole Canoe Sliders.

Tri Kappa is sponsoring a Tomato Salsa Tasting Contest from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. The sorority is also sponsoring photo opportunities with the tomato festival’s Chef Louie.

The mascot playfully pays tribute to Chef Louis Perrin, who purportedly invented tomato juice as a beverage after running out of oranges one day at the French Lick Springs Hotel.

Schedule of events:

  • Vendor Booths – 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. 
  • Bouncy Houses – 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. 
  • Historical Jenga (Sponsored by Visit French Lick West Baden) – 2 p.m.- 10 p.m.
  • Corn Hole Cash Contest (Sponsored by Legendz)- 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.  
  • Tomato Salsa Contest (Sponsored by Tri Kappa Sorority) – 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. 
  • Bands – 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. (Sponsored by Legendz

The Legend of Chief Louis Perrin

In the summer of 1917, with a group of businessmen in his dining room, Chef Louis Perrin had an issue. Patrons wanted orange juice, but the chef was out of oranges.

The chef improvised and mashing up tomatoes, strained the seeds, added some sugar and salt and poured it into a glass – Tomato juice, the drink, was born.

The businessmen loved the drink and production soared.

The resort was selling 4,000 gallons a year.

Orange County Historian Jeff Lane, says the resort could not keep up. Manufacturing plants opened in French Lick, Orleans, Paoli, Marengo, Kokomo, and Hardinsburg.

But what the chief forgot to do was file for a patient, and bigger corporations like V8 and Del Monte and Campbells and Libby Foods dominated production.

A copy of Chief Perrin’s original recipe can be found in The Steakhouse.