Street dance

The Boyce Edwards Band performs at the Chili’s Street Dance. The band hails from Athens.

By Jim Goodson

Nobody would have blamed Robin Butt for taking time off Saturday night during the Chili’s Street Dance.

The chairman of the 23rd annual Tomato Fest seemed to be in many places at once Saturday, emceeing everything from the Tomato Judging contest to the Tomato Eating contest to the Tomato Peeling contest.

Not to mention the Karaoke contest, which likely drew the largest number of entrants than any other event.

But Butt didn’t take any time off in the evening, handling the emceeing duties for the second Chili’s Street Dance, which attracted a large audience to the restaurant’s South Jackson St. parking lot.

While listening to the Ryan Turner band, however, Butt slowed down a bit to reflect on the long day.

“I thought everything went very well,” he said. “We had a big crowd and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.”

Three people succumbed to the heat and had to be helped by East Texas EMS crews. One was an elderly man with diabetes, another was one of the karaoke finalists and the third was a street dance patron who passed out before the sun went down Saturday. All are OK, however.

“I have to congratulate the chamber of commerce and all the volunteers,” Butt said. “It’s amazing how well everyone works together to put on this festival every year. It’s a real credit to Jacksonville.”

Soon, Butt was back on stage handing out candy to the many children who attended the street dance. That’s where he seems most comfortable. It’s a good thing, too, since that’s where he usually was.

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