Truly, There's Nothing Blue about the Blueberry Festival
Downtown Nacogdoches will burst with tons of blueberry fun at the 29th Annual Texas Blueberry Festival from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 9. The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce festival planning committee has been working for months to offer a delicious menu of fun activities that Nacogdoches residents and visitors will enjoy.
"We are really excited about the newly added event Pickin' on the Square," Handler said. "This event will feature music jam sessions in three different air-conditioned locations with different themes: folk music at City Council Chambers in City Hall; a bluegrass workshop led by Gerald Jones with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation in Regions Bank Community Room; and classic country in the Visitors Center downstairs meeting room." Pickin' on the Square will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. "Anyone may venture into these cool spaces, sit and relax and enjoy the music. All who play an instruments should them and join in the pickin'!" she said.
A super cool attraction that travels the nation is making its way back to Nacogdoches. The Ford Raptor Racing Experience Simulator offers festival guests a taste of racing in the Baja deserts of California. The simulator seats up to four with no age requirement, and it is equipped with video footage from the Race Raptors Best in the Desert journey. Find the racing experience simulator in the Regions Bank parking lot at the corner of Fredonia and Pilar streets. Plan on enjoying the view from the bonus observation deck on top of the simulator looking down on festival activities including the Vehicle Funcase Car Show, also in the parking lot.
"The car show will prove to be a popular attraction in itself. It is open to anyone that has a sweet ride to show off. Registration is only $15 per vehicle, and you will want to register early to ensure a place for your cool ride," Handler said.
The Nacogdoches Quilters Guild invites all to visit the Blueberry Festival of Quilts show. The display of beautiful quilted works of art is open both Friday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located in Fredonia Hill Baptist Church.
Handler reminds everyone, "If you and your furry four-legged friend plan to enter the Running of the Blueberries 5K, make sure you get to Coy Simms Softball Fields by 7:30 a.m." The fun run benefits the City Dog Park and takes participants through the scenic Lanana Creek Trail. "Then make your way over to Rees Jewelry in the 400 block of Main Street by 9:30 a.m. to join the True Blue Pet Parade that begins at 10 a.m. The parade is open to all types of pets, and some sport really creative blueberry-inspired costumes," she said.
For foodies looking for new recipes featuring the blue super fruit, catch local celebrity chefs Claudann Jones and Mary Olle in the Cookin' Up the Blues cooking demonstrations in Commercial Bank of Texas at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. For all searching for a cool rest stop that offers a variety of sweet treats, pop into Regions Bank Blueberry Hill Soda & Sweet Shoppe.
"After grabbing a plate of melt-in-your-mouth pancakes at the Kiwanis Blueberry Pancake Breakfast that begins at 8 a.m. on North Pecan Street near The Bosslight Bookstore, head over to the Pick Your Own Blueberries shuttle rides," Handler said. "Take a ride to a local blueberry farm and pick your own blueberries right off the bush." The shuttle pick up station is on North Church Street near The Jones House Bed & Breakfast.
Flats of fresh blueberries brought to you by Brookshire Brothers will be available for sale close to the downtown square at the intersection of Pilar St. and Pecan St., near Dolli's Diner. The Brookshire Brothers booth will open at 8 a.m., selling pints and flats of delicious, plump, sweet blueberries and other blueberry treats until 4 p.m. or until they are gone.
The Blue Pies Smiling at Me Pie Eating Contest is a popular event that attracts a number of participants and spectators to the downtown square in front of City Hall. Competition times for children and adults begin at 10 a.m.
"Be sure to visit the Charles Bright Visitor Center, where a number of events and attractions are located both indoors and out," Handler said. "Inside the center, browse the Blueberry Cupcake Battle entries. Outside, check into the Tipton Ford-Lincoln Hug a Hero booth and meet, thank and hug our local heroes that serve our community every day!"
Festival Park will be churning with blueberry children's activities. The Kids Splash & Bounce Park, Kids Crafts tent and the KSWP/KAVX Obstacle Course are near the park's entrance just south of the downtown brick streets. Festival Park stage will be pumping with music and performances.
Handler said that the festival's competitions are "fun and friendly, and that registration is open now for the Blue Washer Board Tourney and the Paul Kendrick Memorial 42 Tourney."
The newest festival attraction is the Ford Raptor Racing Experience Simulator that will offer festival guests a taste of racing in the Baja deserts of California. The all new simulator seats up to four with no age requirement, and it is equipped with video footage from the Race Raptors 2016 Best in the Desert journey. Find the Raptor racing simulator in the 400 block of East Main Street.
Find all the details and contest registration information at www.TexasBlueberryFestival.com as well as more about the Blueberry Bluegrass Concert in the Park presented by Rex Perry Autoplex set for 6 p.m., Friday, June 8, and much more going on during the entire Blueberry Festival Weekend.