Saturday festival features art, singing, food, fun

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Non-stop entertainment and plenty of fresh blueberries will be the focus of the day Saturday as the 33rd Annual Alabama Blueberry Festival kicks off at Burnt Corn Creek Park.
Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Crane said the event will feature the arts, crafts, activities and products visitors to the event have grown accustomed to enjoying.
“We have everything we typically have had before for the festival,” Crane said. “We did add a few new spaces to the area this year which allowed us to add a few more arts and crafts vendors. If things continue to go well with the growth this year, we could add even more spaces again next year. We are always hoping to grow.”
With more than 70 vendors already lined up for Saturday’s event, Crane said there will be plenty of fresh blueberries available during the event as well.
“We are told we are going to have plenty of fresh blueberries ready for the festival,” Crane said. “There are workers in the field and in the packing house taking care of getting those berries picked and ready for Saturday.”
To prepare the public for a weekend of fun with the festival activities, a special outdoor movie presentation has been planned.
“We are excited to have the movie night for the public Friday evening,” Crane said. “An outdoor movie event was held in the past and people really seem to enjoy it. The movie is ‘Rise of the Guardians’ and we plan on getting started at at 8 p.m. We’ll be in the grassy area across from the city park downtown and the Escambia County Courthouse, right next to the Escambia County School Board offices on Belleville Avenue. We’ll take care of the movie, all people need to do to enjoy the show is to bring their chair or blanket and their own snacks and sit back and enjoy the show.”
Entertainment will continue to be a big part of the event surrounding the festival with a performance by a country artist who is making a return appearance to the city.
“Michael McGilvary will be one of the headliners for entertainment Saturday,” Crane said. “He was the artist featured at our concert in the park when we did the crawfish bowl this spring. People really seemed to enjoy his music and we are happy to have him back on stage in the park.”
McGilvary will be on stage for an hour Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with other performances planned by the Peace and Goodwil Gospel Choir, Lois Crenshaw, Twin Creek Cloggers, Misty Joyner, The Wiregrass Band, Lisa Schloman, Kerry McCall and Blake Presley.
Crane said special attention has once again been placed on providing entertainment for children who attend the event.
“The children’s section we’ve had in the past has been a big hit with children and even some adults,” Crane said. “There will be bungee jumping, rock climbing, a petting zoo and a few more things for children to enjoy during the day. The children’s section is a wonderful addition to the festival and we appreciate the sponsors who make it possible.”
Crane said sponsors for the children’s area are Georgia-Pacific, Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union and Longleaf Energy group. Other event sponsors include D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital; Poarch Band of Creek Indians; Trustmark; Whataburger; Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company; Bathfitters; Regions Bank; EcoView Windows; Ridge Road Baptist Church and New Beginnings Ministries.
Crane said plenty of local items will be up for grabs at the Chamber of Commerce booth as well as the Lion’s Club booth.
“We will have the Blueberry Cookbooks at the chamber booth as well as the Blueberry Festival Tervis tumblers again this year,” Crane said. “The Lions Club will have the festival T-shirts and tote bags at their booth again. We are expecting them to also have some shirts available from previous festival events.”
Free parking will be available at Alco Plaza, behind the Escambia County Courthouse on Belleville Avenue and at O’Bannon Park just off St. Nicholas Avenue, Crane said.
“We will have a free shuttle from each of the parking locations to the festival site,” Crane said. “ECATS will provide transportation beginning at 8 a.m. and they will make their last run at 2:30 p.m.”
Festival hours will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.