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INDUCTED -- Bradley County Extension Staff Chairman John Gavin, left, and former Bradley
County Chamber of Commerce Director Buddy McCaskill, right, were inducted into the
Pink Tomato Hall of Fame on June 14, 2014. (U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
photo illustration by Martha Sartor)
WARREN, Ark. -- The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, running continuously since
1956, has inducted Bradley County Extension Staff Chair John Gavin and former chamber
of commerce director Buddy McCaskill into its Hall of Fame.
“John is an unsung hero that without him, things wouldn’t get done, but nobody really
knows,” said David King, executive director for Bradley County Chamber of Commerce.
The weeklong festival, which includes food, shopping, arts, crafts, contests, live
music, parade, and auctions, is a celebration of Bradley County’s most famous product
- the tomato. With about 30,000 people attending each year, this is one of the biggest
festivals in Arkansas. The chamber looks at those who contribute to the festival and
chooses two inductees each year. The induction was held last Saturday.
Gavin was chosen because he chaired the festival in 2010, has handled the tomato packing
contests for many years, and has been the person in charge of finding tomatoes for
the festival, King said.
“That has been a major part of the festival,” King said.
“It’s really an honor to me especially when I look back and see the people that have
been named in the Hall of Fame,” Gavin said.
McCaskill, who was the director of chamber for 28 years, did a lot of behind the scenes
work that people often take for granted, King said. He served in the festival most
of its 58 years.
“It’s really gratifying to be placed in the same caliber,” Gavin said. “I couldn't
be more pleased to be inducted with McCaskill.”
The Hall of Fame recognition started in 2010 and the inductees are honored at the
All-Tomato Luncheon event. The luncheon works to gather politicians and gather money
through auctions to support the annual festival.
In addition to their unique pinkish color and taste, the Bradley County tomatoes are
known for being allowed to ripen in the field.
“We pick tomatoes that have already started the natural ripening process on the vine,”
Gavin said, as opposed to a lot of tomatoes that are forced to ripen in the cooler.
Although Florida, Tennessee, New Jersey, have bigger tomato fresh market productions,
ours are timed almost perfectly when the other markets end, he said.
To learn more about Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, visit http://www.pinktomatofestival.com.
For more information about crop production and agricultural economics, visit www.uaex.uada.edu or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers its programs to all
eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age,
disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Kezia NandaFor the Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com