Blueberry Festival set for 26th year
If it isn’t broke, why fix it? That is the message being given by Brigus Blueberry Festival chairman Byron Rodway ahead of the 26th running of the popular four day festival.
“What we’re doing is working,” he said. “Because it’s worked so well in the past, there is no need to change it.”
Where it was once more of a garden party event, the Blueberry Festival now attracts tourists from around the province and even other parts of Canada.
It still runs on the second weekend of August, with this year falling on Aug. 8-11.
The town, which has a population of 750, will see some 13,000 to 15,000 patrons stroll through the historic streets.
The more the merrier for festival organizers.
“The beauty of this is that it’s new money for the Town of Brigus,” said Rodway.
The Blueberry Festival serves to show off the many splendors of Brigus. Held in the centre of town, the festival allows tourists and residents alike the opportunity to view the rock walls, Wilcox Gardens and the vintage look that Brigus offers.
“(The festival) showcases the town,” said Rodway, who has been chairperson of the organizing committee for 23 years and involved since the beginning. “I tell people to come back and have a look when it is not so busy.”
The densely packed houses of the Town Centre offer a glimpse to an earlier time for non-residents.
Most organizers look for wide-open spaces on the edge of a community but would have trouble recreating the atmosphere that the Blueberry Festival does.
Sure, having it in a small place may cause logistical headaches for Rodway and the Blueberry Festival Committee, but the experience is much more greater because of the decision to hold it in the middle of town.
“We just have to ensure there are enough shuttle busses running,” said Rodway.
Rodway does not want the festival to focus only on about “loud music and selling spirits.”
“I don’t want that to happen here,” he said.
While the festival does sell beer and has great musical acts, the buck does not stop there.
There are many other options available such as the folk festival, various games of skill and chance, along with the Missed Blueberry Pageant, a parade and craft stalls.
This year’s musical acts include Fitz & Wiseman on Friday night, and St. John’s act Freshly Squeezed on Saturday night.
Also featured at the event will be dinner theatres and an awe-inspiring fireworks display.
One thing Rodway is proud to keep going is the ecumenical service on the Sunday morning.
Interest is still strong in the festival as Rodway fielded some 41 requests from new vendors to become a part of the event, but he only had room for six.
“That speaks to the popularity of the event,” he said. “Everyone wants to be here.”
For full details of the 26th annual Blueberry Festival, please see our Blueberry Book in Aug. 6 print edition of The Compass.