Tom Walton

Tom Walton, 1930-1997

Tom Walton was born in 1930 in Greenwood, South Carolina. As a young boy, he moved to St. Petersburg with his family. Walton’s grandfather introduced him to blues and gospel music, and his father taught him the rhyming couplets used in street crying. His father and grandfather supported their families by selling fruits and vegetables in the streets. Walton extended their produce business to include hot dogs, candy, and soft drinks. The expansion provided him with the opportunity to sell his wares at the local St. Louis Cardinals spring training games. Soon he was entertaining audiences throughout the country as a concessions hawker at professional baseball games. A veteran of the Florida Folk Festival, Walton also performed at the Festival of American Folklife in Washington, DC, and appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and the ABC Nightly News. Walton was considered one of the nation’s leading criers at professional sporting events. He received the Florida Folk Heritage Award in 1994.

Audio Selections