It was a 'bluetiful' weekend in Imlay
Annual Blueberry Festival draws large crowds over the weekend
August 08, 2007IMLAY CITY — If summer festivals are all about kids, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, friends and families having a good time—then the 2007 Blueberry Festival achieved its purpose.
From the opening bell on Friday, hundreds poured onto the grounds near the downtown gazebo for games, music, food and fun.
As has been a Blueberry Festival tradition, the annual pie- and pickle-eating contests attracted large crowds of children, all vying for ribbons and bragging rights for the next year.
Contest organizers had their work cut out for them, as rows of onlookers jockeyed for position behind the yellow tape to root for their favorites.
"I think this was the most people we've ever had for the pie-eating," said Blueberry Festival volunteer Yvonne Wilson. "The kids (and parents) just kept coming. It's fun for us to watch the people having such a good time."
|Grand Marshal Delores Heim, longtime publisher of the Tri-City Times, shares her moment in the spotlight with grandkids Alissa Campbell, her brother Nick Campbell (front, left) and Keil Jorgensen. photo by Photo by Susie Hyde.|
Another popular event was the annual Lego Contest. Cody Sapp, 11, of Attica, the winner in his age group, said he was primed for the competition having finished first and second during the previous two years.
"I come into the competition already knowing what I'm going to make," said Cody. "I build it and then take it apart again. That way I know exactly what I'm doing."
There was no shortage of food at the festival. From a wide assortment of vendor specialties, to Vlasic's pickles, to all things blueberry— festival attendees had ample opportunity to fill their bellies and please their palates.
For those with a taste for something sweet and homemade, contestants in the Blueberry Baking Contest were ready to satisfy.
After careful deliberation, this year's Baking Contest winners were: first place: Kathy McGathy of Imlay City (blueberry white chocolate mousse tart); second place: Cathy King of Imlay City (lemon blueberry jelly roll); and third place: Sandy Smith of Imlay City (blueberry cream cheese Danish).
|Mary Grace Lengemann of Imlay City takes a bite out of blueberry pie.|
To demonstrate that baking isn't limited to just moms and grandmas, three young bakers, Angela Szymanski of Capac and Marc and Leah Allison of Imlay City, were awarded gift certificates to the Learning Depot for their winning entries.
As usual, Imlay City residents turned out en masse for the festival, but organizers were uniformly impressed by the large number of out-of-towners in attendance.
"I think about two-thirds of the people I've talked to are not from Imlay City," said Blueberry Committee member LuAnn Valdez.
"We definitely had lots of people who were from other communities," added Sally Reinhardt, Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce director. "That was very nice to see. We heard a lot of comments from them about how nice the downtown area looks."
Reinhardt offered kudos to classic car owners and fans who took part in the annual Blueberry Cruisers Car Show at the Lamb-Steele Building. Sponsored by Imlay City Ford, the event attracted more than 40 entries and hundreds of car enthusiasts on Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon the Blueberry Parade was a huge hit, with countless natives and visitors lining the streets to cheer on their favorite entries. Serving as 2007 parade Grand Marshal was Delores Heim, longtime community volunteer and publisher of the Tri-City Times.
Reinhardt noted there were yet other highlights, including the entertainment, Friday's fireworks display and Saturday evening's showing of "Firehouse Dog" at the city hall parking lot.
"The movie was an unexpected hit," she said, adding that nearly perfect weather conditions helped out throughout the weekend.
"Our only disappointment was that we didn't have very many blueberries," said Reinhardt. "Because of the dry weather the supply of blueberries was not good. We ended up running out of them, but I think everybody understood."
Reinhardt credited the efforts of the Blueberry Festival Committee members, each of whom worked long hours before and during the event.
"Our committee works very hard," she said. "Nobody realizes all that goes on behind the scenes to make this event come off as it does. They deserve a lot of credit."
This year's Blueberry Festival Committee included: Yvonne Wilson, LuAnn Valdez, Julie Salsido, Jan Kapustka, Ashley Reinhardt, Dan Filer, Dave Carver, MeLisa Filer, Kim Jorgensen, Brad Barrett, Delores Heim, Lorraine Filer and Lloyd Miller.
Turn to page 6-C for photos, and check out our exclusive online photo gallery at www.tricitytimes-online.com