Robin "Boogie" Butt has been Jacksonville Tomato Fest chairman for one busy, accomplished\ decade. Now, as the 29th annual chapter of the event concludes, Butt finds himself readying for the festival's biggest anticipated challenge yet – its 30th year.
Butt discussed the ever-continuing evolution of Tomato Fest Friday during a phone interview with a Jacksonville reporter.
While there is much to be proud of in regard to success with Tomato Fest, there unfortunately has also been a snag in the plans to bring the Tomato Queen beauty queen pageant back to life, Butt said.
Those plans have been postponed for awhile because only eight of the 25 participants needed to re-create the event actually applied, he said.
“It was unfortunate, because this lack participation forced us to cancel,” Butt explained. “But we are definitely continuing our work on bringing the Tomato Queen Pageant back. We definitely still want it to move forward.”
The 2013 turnout, meanwhile, was impressive, officials said. Over 9,000 people attended. Butt said that growth is only expected to continue.
The Tomato Fest crowd gets bigger and bigger every year,” he said. “We're hoping it grows even better this next year."
Making Tomato Fest bigger and better for 2014 shouldn't be much of a problem with Butt behind the virtual wheel, officials say.
The 49-year-old is, after all, well-known for his unique ability to make a party “happen,” they said.
Just ask Jen Cook, Office Manager of Adams Cherokee Storage of Tyler, who left a written evaluation of Butt on a Facebook page.
“If you need 'Stars' he can get them,” Cook said. “He is your one stop entertainment provider for anything from Proms to Weddings and so much more.”
Butt, an Austin native, has been married to his wife, Candy Woods Butt, for 12 years. He has a daughter, a stepdaughter and two grandchildren.
As the owner of Boogie Butt productions, Butt is well-known and well-respected for his attention to detail, his hands-on methodology – and the overall quality of his work.
He said he plans to sit down in the near future with everyone involved with Tomato Fest and discuss strategies for the next year.
Butt is one of Tomato Fest's longest running chairmen. Prior to his participation, no one had been chair longer than a year.
“As long as this event continues to be successful and as long as they keep asking me to come back I will keep doing it,” Butt said. “I want to stay a strong part of this and continue making a big difference.”