March 23 ē 12:36 PM

It's blueberry time!

Imlay's 27th annual Blueberry Fest hits streets this Friday and Saturday

August 01, 2007
IMLAY CITY— It's that time of year again, when the annual Blueberry Festival hits the streets of downtown Imlay City for two fun-filled days of games, contests, food, live music, parades and entertainment.

"The festival has grown immensely over the years," said Sally Reinhardt, executive director of the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the event. "We do our best to add different games or entertainment that families can enjoy together. This year's festival is going to be a lot of fun for everyone."

The activities kick off on Friday morning with sidewalk sales at area businesses and vendors selling wares along Main Street. Kids will want to visit the gazebo area behind city hall for games, a moonwalk and the inflatable rides.

Musical entertainment begins at noon on the main stage at the corner of Main and Third streets, followed by the first blueberry pie eating contest at 1 p.m. Other favorites include the Lego-building, Crazy Bread-eating, chalk-drawing, pickle-eating and hula-hoop contests.

Friday evening's festivities begin with the ever- popular Pet Parade at 6:30 p.m., and a welcoming ceremony with Mayor Rod Warner, Reinhardt and Little Miss Blueberry Leilani Ward.

A new addition to the festival that is expected to bring a few thousand people to town is the second annual alumni football game between host Imlay City Spartans and rival, the North Branch Broncos. The action unfolds at Grettenberger Field at 7:30 p.m. Friday will be capped off by the annual fireworks display, scheduled to begin at dusk. They'll be launched from the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds.

Saturday will begin with some physical recreation with the Blueberry Stomp 5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. in front of city hall, followed by the Blueberry Swim Races at 10 a.m. at the Alvin Norlin Pool.

Serena Bara, Leah Allison and Daniel Jansen take a breather after last yearís pie eating contest. Plenty of activities for youngsters are in store during this yearís festival.
Kids games and activities continue in the gazebo area, as do the pickle-, pie-and pizza-eating contests. The Blueberry Cruisers Car Show will take place in the lower level of the Lamb Steele parking lot, and the winner of the Blueberry Toddler Contest will be announced at 2:45 p.m. at the main stage. The Blueberry Festival Parade, with around 100 entries, will wind through the city streets at 6 p.m.

Check out the stage all afternoon and evening for music by the Third Degree Burns band, the Shane Gang Cloggers, High Steppers, Steel Heads Drum Band and the Voo-Doo Doctors.

The festival wouldn't be complete without plenty of blueberries. Don't forget to get yours by the pound, in a pie, ice cream or muffins. They'll be for sale at the pie and ice cream social at the historical museum or at the Red Barn, your information headquarters for all events happening during the festival. The Red Barn is located on Third Street.

The festival, now in its 27th year, is made possible with the support of local businesses and community members, said Reinhardt.

"Everyone has been great with donations for the festival," she said. "Each year the chamber can depend on area businesses so we can host this free festival for the community. With today's economy, it's nice to be able to stay close to home and enjoy everything Imlay City has to offer. I hope everyone will patronize the local businesses for all they do for the festival and the community."

Reinhardt is also assisted each year by the Blueberry Festival Committee, which meets year-round to plan the annual event.

"The committee is made up of business and community members who help me oversee everything, and I'm very appreciative of their support," she said.

For a listing of all Blueberry Festival events and times, please refer to the complete schedule located in our special Blueberry Festival insert in this week's Tri-City Times.

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