There was certainly a place for ugly during Dundee Township Visitor's Center's 14th annual largest tomato contest, held last weekend at the center in East Dundee.
The contest attracted a total of 26 entries and Adam Tobler of Elgin won it with a three-pound, 1¾ ounce green tomato that would never place in the beauty Olympics.
The tomato, which turned heads for all the wrong reasons, won Tobler $400 in gift certificates donated by area businesses.
But it wasn't the ugliest tomato of the bunch.
One particular tomato was so hideous, that one visitor's center board member nicknamed it "Frankenmato."
"We had one that looked like it had been stitched together by a mad scientist," said board member Paula Lauer, of East Dundee. Another tomato that was hard on the eyes was nicknamed "Trimato" because it looked like three tomatoes stuck together.
Meanwhile, Tobler is hardly a contest neophyte.
In 2010, he won second place and the year before that, he scored first-place honors. According to a news release, Tobler used the tomato seeds left over from 2010 to grow his prizewinning, heirloom tomato.
Other winners were:
• Michael Kundrat of Elgin won second place for his tomato that weighed in at two pounds, 13¾ ounces. He won $300 in gift certificates from area businesses.
• Kundrat's older brother Paul, also of Elgin, placed third with his tomato that weighed an ounce less than his brother's. He walked away with $200 in gift certificates from local businesses.
• Ron Johnson of Elgin took fourth place and $100 in gift certificates. His tomato weighed two pounds and three-quarters of an ounce. The rest of the field received $20 gift certificates for entering.
Although prizes weren't given out for the smallest tomato, it's worth mentioning that Luanna Lewandowski of West Dundee showed up with a tiny, pea-sized tomato that barely weighed a fourth of an ounce.
Stay tuned for the results of the center's Great Pumpkin contest on Oct. 29 which will recognize those with the heaviest and best decorated or carved pumpkin.
Lend a Helping hand in Huntley: Huntley Trustee Pam Fender is asking that skilled volunteers help with a landscaping and small construction project at Green Trees Apartments, a low-income apartment building for seniors.
The McHenry County Housing Authority has hired a firm to remove old landscaping, plant trees and prepare beds for natural seeding. Fender needs gardeners willing to help plant flowers, grasses and bushes.
Fender would also like businesses to donate a concrete pad to go under the 13 benches, concrete for the patio and wood for the pergola. She also needs carpenters to build a new sign base and people who know how to lay stone for the base as well.
Some of the work will begin in the fall, while the rest starts in the spring.
If you'd like to help, email Fender at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (847) 302-6772.
• Lenore Adkins covers Carpentersville, the Dundees, Huntley, Hampshire and Sleepy Hollow. To reach her, send an email to email@example.com or call (847) 608-2725.