36th Annual Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival fast approaching
Tim Brody - Editor
Blueberry Festival time is almost upon us; a time of friends, family, and lots of fun!
Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival coordinator Maddie Mesich said this year’s festival is shaping up to be great.
“I think, as of now, we have more events than we had last year. We’re just working on finalizing the schedule,” she explained.
This year’s festival boasts approximately 125 events, including new events and old favourites.
New this year are a balloon prize drop by Slate Falls Airways, a children’s bird walk, a Blueberry trivia event, and possibly, a murder mystery dinner theatre.
Mesich said she and assistant coordinator Hannah Willms have encouraged event organizers to think about teenagers and young adults when planning their events, as they said the festival traditionally has a lot to offer young children and adults.
“One new event this year that I think would appeal to that age group is an escape room… There is also a junior golf tournament for ages 18 and under, triathlons and the Sioux Mountain Music Festival.”
Returning festival favourites include the home, trade and craft show, firefighters parade and kids day, bocce tournament, men’s and ladies’ Blueberry open golf tournaments, beach volleyball, triathlon events, the Rotary Blueberry pancake breakfast, as well as Legion steak BBQs.
Also back this year is the biggest blueberry contest being sponsored by Drayton Cash and Carry. People are invited to bring their blueberries to the Festival office, at the Travel Information Centre, to be weighed.
Businesses and organizations are also encouraged to show their Blueberry Festival pride by participating in this year’s window decoration contest.
Mesich invited children to attend Blueberry Festival mascot Blueberry Bert’s Birthday Party on Saturday, August 4.
This year’s festival, running from August 3-12, has a superhero/comic book theme and Mesich mentioned Spiderman and Batman have been invited to help Bert celebrate his special day.
The schedule of events for this year’s festival will be coming out later this month.
Mesich and Willms invited festival goers to stay up to date on everything festival related via their website, www.blueberrybert.com and on Facebook at Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival.
“On our Facebook page we’ve been posting updates about things that are new to the festival and things to look for. For instance our t-shirts being sold here (at the Travel Information Centre) and our partnership with Hub Transit this year... We’re hoping to put all of the scheduled events on our website as well,” Mesich informed.
Festival t-shirts are available at the Travel Information Centre.
Mesich and Willms, both university students, are excited to be coordinating this year’s festival.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Blueberry Festival and it’s a job I’d wanted to do before. I applied and ended up getting it. Community engagement is something I’m really interested in,” Mesich shared.
Both young ladies bring quite a bit of knowledge to their positions.
“I’ve been involved with Cedar Bay Day Camp for a while, so I’ve done a lot of programming and planning, especially for children. When I was younger I attended a lot of Blueberry Festival events as well. I was involved in putting on some events too,” Mesich said.
Willms shared, “Similar to Maddie I grew up in Sioux Lookout. I’d experienced the Blueberry Festival and how fun it was and I was really interested in taking on a job that would allow me to develop new skills in organization, collaborating with community members, various businesses and organizations. It’s a very valuable skill to have and also a really great way to contribute to the community of Sioux Lookout.”
She added, “I also was involved with Cedar Bay Day Camp in the past. That gave me a lot of experience with problem solving, planning for children, and working as a team with other people.”
“We’re just really excited and we hope everyone enjoys the festival. We’d love to hear from anyone, anytime, if they want to come in, call, have questions, buy t-shirts,” Willms concluded.
Mesich and Willms can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 807-737-3227, or at the Travel Information Centre located at 11 First Avenue South.