Longtime volunteer Paul Thomas honored by Elkhart Jazz Festival

Paul Thomas is honored at Elkhart's 2013 Jazz Festival.

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 17, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.

ELKHART — Paul Thomas definitely knows a thing or two about the Elkhart Jazz Festival.

As a member of the original committee that planned the first festival back in 1987, Thomas has volunteered his time and effort every year.

It should then come as no surprise that Thomas will be honored this year with the festival’s volunteer award.

“After 26 years, it feels pretty good to honored by these people,” said Thomas. “It’s quite an honor to be recognized by your peers and people that you have worked with for so long.”

With his favorite part of the festival being the chance to talk with people from all over the country and their thoughts on the festival, Thomas says he has learned a great deal.

Thomas has also enjoyed the chance to travel back in time, however, adding to the excitement he feels toward this year’s festival.

“It reminds me of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s on Main Street Saturday nights when it was absolutely packed,” said Thomas. “It brings back some fond memories.”

With no plans to celebrate his being honored, Thomas instead plans on being prepared for another busy weekend.

“I will continue working, driving the handicap cart and greeting people,” said Thomas. “That’s what I’m there for.”

Praying for good weather and hoping for another successful festival, Thomas looks back on festivals past, and has big expectations for the weekend to come.

“We never dreamed that the jazz festival would ever get this big or successful,” said Thomas. “I think this year will be one of the biggest and strongest ones we’ve ever had.”

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