Best Festival Gone Missing - 2007
Is it "catsup" or "ketchup?" For once, it doesn't matter. The annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Summerfest that normally takes place in July in Collinsville, Illinois, has been squashed. As the Big Tomato, Mike Gassman, noted in an e-mail to the Catsup Bottle Fan Club, this year's Fest was kiboshed owing to politics and money issues with the local government. And that's completely antithetical to the spirit of catsup. This most American of condiments is a uniter, not a divider; it brings together French Fries and Hamburgers, Eggs and Steak, Baked Beans and Bloody Marys. OK, maybe not the bloody mary. But you never know until you try! And that was (sniff) the appeal of the Catsup Fest: You had to try it to like it, and now you can't even try it. Foreigners and snooty foodies may scoff, but everything goes better with catsup. The Summerfest always brings out a big crowd, a happy crowd, a crowd that wants to vote for Little Princess Tomato and Little Sir Catsup, and sample free catsup, and come together under the hot July sun and pay homage to the big Brooks Catsup bottle that towers overhead. And now it's gone. Slather yourself in Red Gold and march on Collinsville's city hall to demand justice, pour a little Brooks out for your dead homies and pray that this all gets straightened out by next summer. We owe it to the children no tomato left behind in 2008.