A familiar face at Riverfest every year, the button man


Riverfest ends on Saturday, but some people are still going out and participating in the activities and eating the food.

If you've gone to the festival over the years, chances are you've seen J.W. Melugin, or better known as the Riverfest button man. He has close to 50 buttons on whatever shirt he wears to the festival on a given day.

"They go back as far as '72," Melugin said.

Being a long haul truck driver, he said he hasn't been to every single Riverfest since 1972. However, he has been to most, collecting all of his buttons along the way. Over the years, he said he has a favorite food that he eats every year.

"It's all you need, you got your starch, you got your meat," he said.

If you ask him his overall favorite thing about the festival, you will get a simpler answer.

"All of it," Melugin said.

People around Riverfest have taken notice of one of the faces of the festival.

"He's got this spirit about him, that just, you can't knock," said Esteban Ramirez, a Riverfest attendee.

Ramirez said he's seen him around all areas of the festival, getting involved in everything and with everyone.

"He's laughing, dancing, into everything," he said. "I see him every year and it's a pleasure to see him."

Even getting the opportunity to meet and talk to him.

"He's the nicest person you could ever meet," Ramirez said.

For the button man, going to Riverfest, meeting the people there and getting involved in the activities is a tradition he wants to continue.

"I was born here and I just enjoy it," Melugin said. "Just enjoy doing it."

Riverfest ends Saturday night with the closing fireworks.