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Blueberry Festival weekend successful

The 30th annual Alabama Blueberry Festival held in Brewton last weekend was a success — at least by measure of the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the event.

Michelle Hart, administrative assistant with the Chamber, said vendors, artists and visitors to Saturday’s event responded positively throughout the Festival.

“All of the people we heard from were very positive about the Festival this year,” Hart said. “Vendors, artists and the food vendors said they stayed busy and had a good day.”

Hart said although the day was especially warm the crowd seemed to enjoy the day of entertainment and activities.

“The crowd was really good this year in spite of the heat,” Hart said. “It was certainly hot but the heat didn’t seem as oppressive as it was last year. We didn’t have a lot of medical calls and only one person had any issues with the heat.”

Hart said two areas at the Festival remained particularly busy throughout the day.

“The kids area was really busy all day long,” Hart said. “The waterslide was really popular. We also had a busy day in the food court. The vendors stayed busy and had a successful day. The ice cream was especially popular all day long.”

Hart said some festivalgoers expressed disappointment over the lack of blueberry cobbler at the event.

“People have come to expect certain things at the Festival,” Hart said. “Since the Kiwanis Club didn’t have the cobbler this year, a lot of people were disappointed. Hopefully we will be able to get that back into the mix next year. We will do what we can to fill that void and have the things people have come to enjoy about the Festival. We are already working on getting the right people to get the cobbler back on next year’s menu.”

Vendors of arts and crafts were plentiful this year and Hart said the number of participants was above average compared to recent years.

“We have about 100 spaces available at the Festival only because that’s about as much space as we have at Burnt Corn Park,” Hart said. “This year we had about 80 spaces rented. That’s better than the average of what we usually have.”

The only low point in the Festival was the absence of the Memories of Mayberry group, Hart said. Goober, Barney and Ernest T. Bass were scheduled to stroll throughout the Festival grounds during the day.

“The Memories of Mayberry group weren’t able to get to the Festival this year,” Hart said. “They had car problems and broke down trying to get here. We missed having them but everything else went very well this year.”

Hart said Friday’s “Evening of Art” was a success and may become a regular event.

“The art show was very well attended and we are hoping to make this a regular event,” Hart said. “The artists seemed happy about the response from the community. We’re not sure if it will be held in conjunction with the Blueberry Festival, but we do want to offer that type of opportunity to our local artists.”

The Evening of Art was held downtown in the former Hour Glass location with the $25 admission price exchanged for “Funny Money” that could be used at the art show or during the Blueberry Festival.

“We had a lot of people use the Funny Money during the Festival,” Hart said. “It was a really good idea and everyone seemed to like the process.”

Hart said plans are already underway for the 31st annual event set for next June in Brewton.

“We are already working on some things for next year,” Hart said. “We’ve found the best time to talk about the next year is right after the event.

It’s easier to remember what went well and what didn’t work. We want the Blueberry Festival to be better and better every year.”

Blueberry cookbooks and Blueberry Festival t-shirts are still available through the Chamber offices located in the Brewton City Hall complex on Douglas Avenue. Cookbooks are $10 each with shirts at $12 each. For additional information on availabilities of the items, contact the Chamber at 867-3224,