What’s better than walking through the forest on a warm summer afternoon, bending down to pluck fresh blueberries as you go? (Well, besides eating them, of course.) What if you could spend an entire day in devotion to that little blue nugget of joy – and during the height of blueberry season, no less?
At Marquette’s 13th Annual Blueberry Festival, scheduled for July 25 (Friday), you can. Although the celebration has seen its share of (mostly weather-related) ups and downs over the years, it’s always a huge draw. Let’s take a look at what you can expect at this year’s version.
One of the hallmarks of past Blueberry Festivals has been the tremendous street-level engagement. Three of downtown Marquette’s busiest blocks are blocked off for the event, with businesses in those locations setting up stalls on the street or sidewalk to entice pedestrians with their wares. Businesses from outside the immediate area will also be represented, although first priority goes to local shops. Whether you’re looking for a new piece of locally made jewelry, a distinctive work of art for your home, or a blueberry-themed bite to eat, you’ll find it – and lots more that you weren’t expecting – here.
If you’re looking for entertainment that’s not typically provided on Washington and Front Streets, you’ll find that at Blueberry Festival as well. Here’s a sampling of what’s on tap:
The street and sidewalk events promise plenty of fun for visitors of all ages, but what about the festival’s namesake? Don’t worry: The humble blueberry will be out in force on July 25. While late July is the perfect time to find wild blueberries in abundance along the trails and outcroppings of Marquette County, Blueberry Festival presents a chance for the area’s restaurants, confectioners and farmers to elevate this sweet, savory woodland fruit. In addition to an open-air market where locals can sell blueberries and blueberry products, local restaurants and shops will offer a variety of blueberry-themed specials. If you’re craving chocolate-covered blueberries, blueberry pies, even blueberry pizza and beer, you’ll find it within walking distance of the intersection of Washington and Front Streets. Stores that don’t sell food will be in on the act, too, with special items that celebrate the blueberry (or even just the color blue).
Want a more specific list of blueberry-themed items available at Blueberry Festival? Show up on the 25th and make it yourself!
This year’s Blueberry Festival will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 25, and run through 10 p.m. The heart of the action will be on Washington and Front Streets in downtown Marquette, but businesses throughout the city will be offering blueberry-themed creations for the public’s enjoyment. If you’re coming from out of the area, look for parking near Elwood Mattson Park or along the side streets outside of the downtown core.
It’s too late to enter the 2014 Blueberry Festival poster contest, but autographed copies of Kyle Wilkins’ winning entry will be available at The Art of Framing on Washington Street on the day of the festival. And if you’re a budding artist, enter next year’s contest! The winner gets 10 high-def prints and $150 in gift certificates from popular Marquette businesses.
One last note: If you’re a local vendor looking to secure booth space at the Marquette Blueberry Festival, the deadline for this year’s registration has passed. For future events, contact the Downtown Development Authority directly or watch the DDA’s website for updates.