Plenty of fun,food, music at Blueberry Fest
Attendees encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets to main stage shows
July 30, 2008IMLAY CITY — Live musical entertainment, dancing, magic shows, clowns, puppeteers, games, contests, food, fun and plenty of blueberries are in store for those attending the 28th annual Blueberry Festival Aug. 1 and 2.
One of the major attractions this year is the addition of a second stage at the corner of Third and Bancroft streets, and the shifting of many events to locations along Third Street, said Walt Bargen, co-chair of the Blueberry Festival Committee.
"There's a lot of talented local entertainers that we've used to fill both stages to bring a local flavor to a hometown festival," he said. "We're also expanding the festival's focus from the gazebo area to bring more interaction with the downtown merchants," he said.
Lawn seating available
To create a more inviting atmosphere for stage performers and listeners, the main stage will be angled this year to face the downtown district, taking advantage of the grassy area at the corner of Third and Main streets for lawn seating.
"We're encouraging visitors to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the many musical performances," said Bargen. "We feel this will create a warmer ambience at the stage area, which should be advantageous to both the performers and the audience."
The activities kick off on Friday, Aug. 1 with street vendors and an ice cream social at the historical museum. Little Miss Blueberry contestants will perform on the main stage at noon. Kids will want to visit the gazebo area behind city hall for games, a moonwalk and the inflatable rides.
|Blueberry Festival Committee co-chairs Walt Bargen and Julie Salsido are ready to greet festival visitors with a smile this weekend. photo by Tom Wearing.|
Musical entertainment begins Friday at 12:30 p.m. on the main stage at the corner of Main and Third streets, followed by the first Blueberry Pie, Pickle, and Crazy Bread eating contests. Other favorites include Lego-building, chalk-drawing and hula-hoop contests.
Friday evening will round out with the judging of the Blueberry Baking Contest, the pet parade, welcome and mural unveiling ceremony at 6:45 p.m., a fish dinner at the Eagles Hall on Almont Avenue and fireworks set off at dusk from the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds.
The Imlay City Rotary Club will host its annual concession tent with pop, bottled water and other beverages both Friday and Saturday. They'll have a disc jockey both nights and face painting by June Bug on Saturday after the parade.
On Saturday, Aug. 1, start your day with a blueberry pancake breakfast at the Eagles Hall, then run or walk off those calories at the 2008 Blueberry Stomp which begins at city hall at 9 a.m.
A new event this year is the street chalk art contest for ages 13 and above. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. individuals or teams can create their chalk masterpieces for cash prizes. Pre-register at Kempf's Imlay City Florist at 109 E. Third Street.
The Blueberry swim races begin at 10 a.m. at the Alvin Norlin Pool under the water tower. The antique flea market is expanding this year, located at Fourth Street and M-53. Watch for the huge tent sales of antiques, collectibles and gently used items. For information on booth space, contact Beth at 724-1800.
Saturday afternoon events include a Bike Show, Firemen's Open House, more live musical entertainment and the Blueberry Festival Parade at 6 p.m. After the parade, catch the outhouse races and bed races along Third Street, then bring your kids to the outdoor movie Alvin and The Chipmunks.
Festival co-chair Julie Salsido said the Blueberry Festival Committee has volunteered many hours to bring a fun-filled, family-friendly festival to the community.
"We took different ideas given to us and worked what we could into the festival, like the second stage with community acts," she said. "Even with the depressed economy, people in the community always step up to the plate when it comes to donations to support the community and we appreciate them."
The Red Barn, your festival information headquarters, will be open both days on Third Street next to the police station. For a listing of all Blueberry Festival events and times, please refer to the complete schedule located inside this official guide.
"We invite everyone to come to town and enjoy the festival," said Salsido.
For a complete schedule and details on all the festival highlights see our special Blueberry Festival insert inside this edition.