“I’m thrilled we’ve come up with some silly ways to play with the color blue,” says Blueberry Festival organizer and founder Janet Boyd. “It’s a great collection of activities, and they’re not just one day, but they last for 10 days.”
The most popular events of the festival are returning, including Saturday’s Blueberry Festival Block Party and Village Stroll in Wilmington and the Blueberry Festival Parade next Saturday, August 4, in West Dover.
Boyd also pointed out some new events, including two nights geared for teens. On Tuesday night is the Blue Hawaiian Youth Rock ‘n’ Bowl evening at North Star Bowl. Wednesday is the Blueberry High School Dance Party at the Sitzmark.
“Were hoping they turn out to be great evenings for everyone,” said Boyd.
Another new and unique event will take place on the summit of Mount Snow. On Saturday, August 4, the mountain will whisk patrons to the top of the Bluebird Express bubble chairlift and fete them with a barbecue and bluegrass music. It’s one of the most unusual events every held here in the valley.
Haystack Club is getting in on the action as well. The resort will be hosting a scavenger hunt around the mountain and at the Hermitage Inn on Sunday.
Both resorts signed up to support the festival. “Haystack and Mount Snow are sponsors this year,” said Boyd, “which we’re thrilled about. The sponsorship level is up by so many people, it’s so good to see. The response has been really wonderful.” She also commended the town of Dover for sponsoring the parade next week, and noted that individuals and businesses throughout the valley had helped make the 10-day festival something special this year.
Unlike past festivals, Boyd said they didn’t ask for any state funding to help pull off this year’s extravaganza. “We didn’t ask the state for funding this year. We knew the department of agriculture was stretched, so we tried to work our magic with local people and companies. They really came through.”
Mount Snow Chamber of Commerce Director Adam Grinold says the festival couldn’t come at a better time.
“As we head into the busiest stretch of summer tourism for the valley,” Grinold said, “the Blueberry Festival provides a full calendar of events over the 10-day period. The beauty of the Blueberry Festival is that by using the blueberry theme for events, activities, and promotions, it highlights the amazing businesses and tourism opportunities available throughout the entire summer in the valley.”
One of the goals of the festival is to get traffic into local merchants, Grinold added. “With many businesses participating in the Blueberry Passport, visitors and locals alike are reminded of the varied offerings available and often visit a business they may not frequent ordinarily. The festival is a celebration of the valley and its offerings, dyed blue.”
Grinold added that a quick phone survey showed traffic up at local inns. Boyd echoed those findings, noting that many plan their summer vacation around the 10 days of the festival.
“Were seeing a lot of use of condos and second homes,” she said. “Some families are staying right through the week and both weekends. I’ve seen visitors from Texas, California, even Korea. They didn’t know what to make of it.”
Boyd said that even after five years of organizing and coordinating the festival, she’s still energized by it, and still energizing others to participate.
“It’s a lot of volunteer work, but I really still believe in it.”