Reynoldsburg News

Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival

Senior King and Queen are longtime residents

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As royal couples go, Jean and Frank Roberts might have an edge over Britain's Kate and William -- the Robertses just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and were recently crowned the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival Senior King and Queen.

The 49th annual Tomato Festival will run from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16.

There is no admission charge and parking is free at the Reynoldsburg Swim Club, Spangler Field in Huber Park and JFK Park.

The Robertses were crowned Senior King and Queen at the Queen's Luncheon Aug. 10 at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, said Robin Baker, a member of the Tomato Festival committee.

"I don't think Frank is interested in wearing a crown of any sort, but we wanted to honor them as people who have made an impact in Reynoldsburg," Baker said. "We will introduce them on Friday at the opening ceremonies and they are welcome to drive a golf cart around and visit with people during the festival."

Residents of Reynoldsburg for 49 years, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts said they were surprised and pleased to learn they were selected to represent the festival.

"I had no idea," said Joan, 71. "My daughter said she wanted to surprise me, and she did."

Frank, 73, said he was "kind of proud to think we would be fortunate enough to represent Reynoldsburg."

"We've lived in Reynoldsburg for 49 years and I like going to the Tomato Festival," he said. "It changes every year and it's always fun to see the kids roam around. It's a good time."

Their daughter, Lisa Gomez, nominated her mom and dad for the honor.

"We always liked to take our children to the Tomato Festival and now we enjoy it with our grandchildren," Jean said. "I like the interaction with other people and with other longtime residents."

It's not the first award she's won that is tomato-related.

The Roberts family has entered tomatoes and tomato products in the festival contests for many years.

"I won first prize almost every year for my tomato sauce," Jean said. "We still can tomatoes every year and make sauce."

The Roberts family is Italian -- Roberts is the English version of Roberto, Jean said. She has been a local Realtor since 1978 and works with Century 21. Frank retired from the Columbus Division of Police after 27 years.

They have four children: Lisa, Frank, Giannine and Michael; and 12 grandchildren.

Baker said the Tomato Festival board members look through Senior King and Queen nominations with certain criteria in mind.

"We asked for a couple in Reynoldsburg that has made a local impact," she said. "They had to have lived in Reynoldsburg for a minimum of 10 years and they had to be 65 and over."

She said the Robertses helped found the Reynoldsburg Touchdown Club, a booster group, and have been active in many community and school events.

Baker said the couple will also be invited to the Reynoldsburg Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and to ride in next year's Fourth of July parade.

For a schedule of activities for the Tomato Festival, go to reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org.

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