Sioux Lookout’s 38th Blueberry Festival is underway!
Tim Brody - Editor
This year’s festival features approximately 60 events, with about 30 per cent of them being online.
“They’re all a good mix of online events, in-person events, week-long events, some old favourites and some new events for this year as well,” shared Festival Coordinator Jessica Darling.
The festival officially got underway with a drive-through opening ceremony on July 31.
Blueberry Festival Committee members, along with dignitaries including Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance and Kenora MP Eric Melillo, donned masks and gloves to serve cupcakes prepared by Sioux Lookout’s Althea George, who for many years has prepared a large cake for the festival’s opening.
The Sioux Lookout Shrine Club hosted a BBQ as part of the drive-through opening ceremonies with net proceeds going to the club’s fundraising initiatives.
Pelican Lake Sandwich Company provided Blueberry Mint Lemonade refreshments, also as part of the drive-through opening ceremonies.
In a video posted to the Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival Facebook page, Blueberry Festival mascot Blueberry Bert cut a ribbon to officially open the 2020 Blueberry Festival. Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance, Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa and Kenora MP Eric Melillo brought greetings as part of the video. Rotary Club of Sioux Lookout President Tara Drew also appeared in the video, presenting this year’s candidates for the Jack McKenzie Memorial Award and naming this year’s recipient, Geraldine Morgan.
“We feel as a committee that we don’t want to let it go. We’d like to give the community something to look forward to,” Christine Hoey, Blueberry Festival Committee Treasurer and Past President told The Bulletin earlier this year about the decision to go ahead with the festival in 2020.
“We’re a dedicated group of volunteers who have been with the committee for a long time, and it’s part of us. We’re passionate about what we do, and it’s a way of giving back to the community,” Dori Hopko, Blueberry Festival Committee President had also shared with The Bulletin.
Darling said most of this year’s events are drive-through, or are happening online or outdoors to help people enjoy the festival safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She reminded festivalgoers to remember to adhere to public health measures such as physical distancing, and washing your hands often. She encouraged people to wear a mask if it makes them feel more comfortable.
The schedule of events can be found at the Travel Information Centre, as well as at local businesses.
People can also drop by the Travel Information Centre to purchase a shirt in support of the festival, however Darling said stock is limited.
People can stay up to date on festival happenings by visiting www.blueberrybert.com,
or by visiting the Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival Facebook page.
This year’s festival runs through to August 9.