Festival a testament to collective effort
Jul 25, 2014 | 1884 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What do you get when you cross a grass-roots effort to organize events with a small, delectable fruit that only grows for a short period in the summer? The easy answer, and the correct one, is the Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival.

It’s that time again, when the valley turns blue and figures out different ways to have fun, all while (sort of) sticking to a blueberry theme that ties the whole 10-day collection of activities together.

The Blueberry Festival is now in its sixth year, and has become an anchor event for the summer here in the valley. That’s not bad, considering when founder Janet Boyd went around looking to get the festival off the ground in 2008 she was merely looking for groups and businesses to develop small-scale events and activities so she could stitch together something out it. From its humble beginnings that first year, the festival has grown and evolved. Yes, there’s been a collective effort from not just Boyd, but also the chamber of commerce, local non-profits, church groups, and area businesses. Overall, it’s been good for the valley.

The Blueberry Festival also is a unique way of organizing and creating an event. Normally, events are centralized in one area, with a major promoter who tends to control the access and the activites at the event. Think concerts, major sporting events like Tough Mudder, the X Games, or the Dew Tour, or even an Independence Day event. But the Blueberry Festival was different from the beginning. Businesses and diverse groups were encouraged to develop their own events, mostly sales, blueberry pancake breakfasts, and the like. Then organizers collected the menagerie of events and activities under the festival’s blue-themed umbrella and got the word out.

The Bleuberry Festival is truly an example of the whole being greater that the sum of its parts.

Just look at some of this year’s activities. Of course there’s the two anchor events, Saturday’s parade in Dover and the block party in Wilmington on August 2. But there’s also a plethora of things big and small, from the blueberry Jell-O slip-and-slide to a river float to the parade of boats on Lake Whitingham. In all, there are scores of activities and things to do. See page 8 for a larger sampling of some of the activities.

There’s no doubt the festival has evolved during its first six years. Here’s hoping it continues to evolve and grow during the next six years, and well beyond.

After all, what’s tastier than a blueberry?
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