Blueberry Festival begins with a boom
Photo Gallery | 2016 Blueberry Parade
DOVER — As promised, blueberries have taken over the Deerfield Valley.
First by way of Jell-O slide Friday then a parade Saturday.
"It's great," said Craig Creller, a Connecticut resident who has a house at Chimney Hill in Wilmington. "There's nothing like a friendly hometown parade. You get to interact with your neighbors and enjoy the day."
His family never misses the Blueberry Festival parade nor the July 4 parade in Wardsboro.
Nearly 30 groups participating in the parade came into West Dover waving to attendees along Route 100. A new Don't Be Blue Kids Zone was set up to keep children busy throughout the event. And cannons could be heard going off in the distance as the Living History Association had reenactment tents set up at the Dover Forge.
Approximately 500 people showed up at the Jell-O slide and organizers were anticipating a count of about 3,000 at the parade.
"It's a wonderful, valley-wide cooperative effort to create a 10-day festival," said Janet Boyd, festival founder and coordinator.
The weather could have worked for or against the parade, Boyd said, worried that some people may have opted to go straight for a spot at the lake.
The Boyd Family Farm brought about 100 pints of blueberries to sell at the craft fair with another 88 pints to make blueberry shortcakes.
"There's so many events to have fun and hopefully remind people of our agricultural roots," said Boyd, who started the festival nine years ago.
Peggy Powers, who runs Lyman's Specialties with her husband Lyman, has participated as a vendor in the festival's craft show for four or five years now. Their pickles, relishes, jams and jellies all were on display Saturday.
Boyd had asked Lyman if he made blueberry jam before the first year his products were sold at the festival. Now, it's part of the line.
"He (Lyman) hasn't looked back since," said Powers.
The Blueberry Festival is fun, she said, "because I don't see a lot of the people that live up this way."
"Because Lyman and I are in the kitchen," she said. "So I get to be out here. I like it. I think Janet (Boyd) has hit upon a great market here."
The craft fair was set up on the lawn in front of Layla's Riverside Lodge.
"This is what this property's for. It's nice to see the people come out," said Sandy MacDougall, inn owner. "People are shopping. Dogs are walking."
MacDougall said 40 vendors were there. And many were expected to return for Columbus Day weekend when the Independent Television and Film Festival will be held in town.
Due to rain on Sunday, the Blueberry Splash at Lake Whitingham was rescheduled to Sunday, Aug. 6. The Blueberry Block Party will be held the day before in downtown Wilmington. For a full listing of the remaining activities, visit vermontblueberry.com.
Contact Chris Mays at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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