Photo: Tim Bryant, manager of downtown business The Runaway Mule, poses wearing the official 22nd Annual Texas Blueberry Festival t-shirt. Festival posters and t-shirts are available now at the business located at 203 E. Main St. in Nacogdoches. (Photo by Kelly Daniel)
The Texas Blueberry Festival, presented by Brookshire Brothers, returns to Nacogdoches the second Saturday in June with a day-long celebration of the annual blueberry harvest, featuring delicious blueberry fare, live entertainment and activities for all interests and ages.
“The 22nd Annual Texas Blueberry Festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 11, in our historic downtown and Festival Plaza, the grassy park area just south of the brick streets,” said festival Chairwoman Michelle Smith. “The festival keeps getting bigger and better every year. Admission and parking are free, and thanks to Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful, the festival is a litter free event.”
According to Smith, new events at this year’s festival are Running of the Blueberries 5K Fun Run/Walk and the Firefighter Olympics.
“As part of the Healthy Nacogdoches 5K Challenge, the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition, Nacogdoches Endurance Training and Dog Park Nacogdoches are working together to bring a 5K to the blueberry festival,” said Kinnie Parker, coordinator of the Community Health Education department at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital and facilitates the work of the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition. “The 5K is a 3.1-mile run/walk that is chip-timed and held on a USATF sanctioned course. The route features the scenic Lanana Creek Trail and will feature two aid stations. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each ten-year age group, and all proceeds will benefit the future Dog Park Nacogdoches.”
The 5K fun run/walk is sponsored by MetroPCS, and links to application and more information about the Firefighter Olympics are available at TexasBlueberryFestival.com and on the festival’s Facebook page.
“We’ll welcome back Cowboy Max who’ll wrangle stray blueberries in his trick roping comedy performances in the Commercial Bank of Texas lobby along with cooking demonstrations by Brookshire Brother’s Amy McCloud and other local celebrity chefs,” Smith said.
Traditional festival favorites continue such as the Kiwanis’ 8 a.m. Blueberry Pancake Breakfast, fresh blueberries for sale by Hayter’s Mill Creek Farm and free shuttle rides to transport guests from the festival to a nearby farm where all can pick their own blueberries right off the bush. Live musical entertainment and performances can be enjoyed all day on three downtown stages. Plenty of free-of-charge and nominal fee activities for children including a petting zoo and water and bounce park are available and more than 100 vendor spaces will be filled with arts, crafts, food and unique items.
Other attractions include a state and nationally-sanctioned 42 tournament, pie-eating contest, pet parade, washer board tournament, classic car show, costume contest and ice cream and cobbler-making competitions.
“This is a true family event that you won’t want to miss,” Smith said.
Prime growing conditions make Nacogdoches County one of the leading blueberry producers in the state, and the annual harvest peaks in early summer. Proceeds from the
Texas Blueberry Festival benefit the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce’s various community and business development programs. Nacogdoches is located approximately 150 miles north of Houston via U.S. Hwy. 59.
For more information about the Texas Blueberry Festival, call the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce at 936-560-5533 or the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-888-OLDEST TOWN. For a complete schedule of events and other festival details including event registration forms, go to www.TexasBlueberryFestival.com.