Taste the blue on June 13
Posted 05 - 29 - 2009
Find the Blue Pies Smiling at Me Pie Eating contest and live entertainment in Festival Plaza at the Texas Blueberry Festival on Saturday, June 13. (Photo by Bruce R. Partain)

Taste the blue
By Charity Parkey

For those who love to cook or love to eat, Downtown Nacogdoches is the place to be on Saturday, June 13. This year’s Texas Blueberry Festival, presented by Brookshire Brothers, is sure to satisfy taste buds with all things blueberry, as well as the traditional summer foods.

The Nacogdoches Kiwanis Club kicks off the festival at 8 a.m. with their annual Blueberry Pancake Breakfast. Come to the downtown square at Main and Fredonia Streets and taste the pancakes made with the famous Kiwanis blueberry batter. Pancakes are $5 per plate and are served until the batter runs out.

New to this year’s Texas Blueberry Festival is Cookin’ Up the Blues, a series of food demonstrations in the Commercial Bank of Texas lobby at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. All feature local celebrity chefs and Cowboy Max guest appearances.

“Celebrity chefs will demonstrate simple blueberry dishes, and finished products of each will be given as door prizes. A collection of the recipes will be handed out to audience members,” said Karen Tucker, blueberry chef and event organizer. “At 11 a.m., famed chef Camilla Saulsbury will prepare her Decadent Blueberry Pecan-Cluster Granola and Blueberry Smoothies with Vanilla and Cardamom.”

Not satisfied with only watching the cook? Visitors can participate by competing in one of the cooking contests, such as the Brookshire Brothers’ Blueberry Pie baking competition. Prior to the competition, contestants must complete a Blueberry Pie registration form available at Brookshire Brothers stores and at www.TexasBlueberryFestival.com. The completed forms and entries must be brought to the Brookshire Brothers booth in front of the visitor center on the square, 200 E. Main St. , by 10 a.m. Entries are judged on taste and presentation, and winners will receive gift cards donated by Brookshire Brothers.

“The past several years we have had from 25 to 65 Blueberry Pie entries,” said Gloria McDonald, Brookshire Brothers director of public relations. “We have had old, young, males and females enter pies. Some of the pies are so creative and beautiful, our judges don’t want to cut into it. Most of the participants are local but we have had some from Shreveport and even Frisco. Everyone always comes to our booth wanting blueberry pie, and last year we decided to sell blueberry pies, and it was a huge success. So we plan to sell them again this year.”

The popular Blue Pies Smiling at Me Pie Eating contest will return at the Festival Plaza stage, located south of the downtown brick streets. There are separate contests for adults and kids ages 12 and younger. The contest will begin at 11 a.m. and run throughout the afternoon. Registration takes place prior to the events and almost as good as the blueberry pie is the free admission for this event.

The Blueberry Hill Soda and Sweet Shoppe in the Regions Bank lobby is the perfect temporary getaway from the East Texas heat. For the festival, Regions converts its lobby into an old-fashioned soda shop. Some of the treats found there are blueberry cobbler, ice cream, pastries, blueberry lemonade and coke floats.

Once again, Hayter’s Mill Creek Farm will be selling blueberries from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until they run out. According to farm General Manager Henry Sunda, 20,000 pounds of fresh blueberries will be at the festival – twice the amount that was at the 2008 festival. The blueberries will only be sold in five-pound boxes for $10 each.

Come early, because with blueberries as fresh as these, the supply may not last long.

For those who enjoy picking their own blueberries, there are shuttles to and from The Blueberry Place, a local berry farm. No other vehicles will be allowed to enter the farm on the day of the festival. To be full of berries on festival day, The Blueberry Place will be closed a few days in advance.

“The free shuttle leaves every 15 minutes from the festival pick up point on the north end of Church Street to The Blueberry Place,” said Michelle Smith, festival chair. “To make things easier on festival visitors, a boarding pass procedure will be in place for the rides. Why wait in line when you can pick up a boarding pass for a scheduled shuttle ride to the Blueberry Place ?”

The you-pick-em blueberries cost $1.25 a pound, and no pre-picked blueberries will be available at the farm on the day of the festival.

For just a $5 per entry fee, visitors can participate in the Blueberry Cobbler and Blueberry Ice Cream contests, held in Commercial Bank of Texas . Entries are due by 10 a.m. in non-returnable containers. Judging of the ice cream will be held at 10:30 a.m., followed by cobbler judging at 11. The winners will be announced at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce information booth located in front of the visitor center at 200 E. Main St .

The Texas Blueberry Festival is a production of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. For more information visit the festival’s website at www.TexasBlueberryFestival.com or call (936) 560-5533. The festival is a Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful litter-free event.
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