Visitors gathered in Niceville on Sunday for the 43 Boggy Fest. This year, the event rolled out a new feature, allowing guests to purchase VIP passes.

NICEVILLE — A small-town event aimed to attract national attention.

Last weekend, more than a dozen country music artists took the stage at Boggy Fest 2019.

In its 43rd year, the event rolled out a new feature, allowing guests to purchase VIP passes. In an even more inclusive section, dubbed Ultra VIP, guests were also able to attend a Saturday night dinner with the performers.

"It brings a certain life to the community," Ron Johnson, event producer for 38 years, said on the festival. "A lot of communities are known for their events ... if you look at certain towns and certain cities along the gulf coast ... they're known nationwide for (their) events."

For Nathan Neal, a Texas resident visiting the Panhandle, the Boggy Fest was "awesome" and "a fun time."

"I didn't know they had anything like this in Niceville," he said. "I've only been here for a short time and I figured Niceville was a small town, but this actually makes it bigger."

He jokingly added that he favored the area over the more "touristy" Destin, which he said didn't have the same small-town vibe.

Others, including Niceville's Shauna Davis, took the festival as an opportunity to spotlight a business as one of the event's many vendors.

As a representative for Scentsy, a business focused on fragrances, Davis said it was her fourth year working the event.

"It brings people out, gives them something to do," she said. "And for us vendors, it's a way to showcase our products (and) get our names out there."

According to Johnson, his company Sound Associates, Inc., which he co-owns, was in a one-year contract with the community to orchestrate the event. Looking ahead, he said that it would be up to officials if they continued putting on the festival.  

"(Niceville) is one of the best places, I think, to raise kids in the state of Florida," he said. "If you think about all what Niceville has, in a small town ... the festival is just something to top that off."