Dear Friends of The National Blueberry Festival,
With less than three weeks to the annually scheduled National Blueberry Festival we would like to announce — with mixed emotions— that yes, The National Blueberry Festival will happen — but in an extremely reduced capacity. The current Covid-19 Pandemic makesit impossible for us to offer many of the family favorites that people associate with our annual festival. Our live music has been cancelled so no sweet summer tunes to fill the town. The pie eating contests have been cancelled — giving us all one more year to practice. The beer tent will not go up and we are unable to welcome vendors from near and far to line our streets and share their crafts.
There will however, be an emphasis on local growers as many will set up under the Huron Street Pavilion on Saturday August 8, 2020. and several will be hosts for Farm Day. In addition, there will be several online and virtual events that will allow anyone to participate with this year’s festival.
Here are some of the key current events scheduled for the 2020 National Blueberry Festival:
All live events are outside and we request that visitors follow Michigan’s protocols including handwashing/ sanitization, social distancing, and face coverings for those who are able to wear them. For more information and a schedule of specific events please visit our website and facebook page. All events are subject to change so please check out our information online.
We would like to take a moment to thank our town, the blueberry growers, and all of the people who visit the National Blueberry Festival every year. Please know that we worked long and hard to find a way to still have a festival this year. And while this year’s festival will be greatly reduced it did allow us to focus on what is important - blueberries and our community. So while we are down this year we plan on
roaring back in 2021. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we look forward to this year and beyond.
National Blueberry Festival
2020 National Blueberry Festival Board of Directors
John Deschaine / Susan Diepen / Kimberly Wise / Amanda Ervin / Amy Andrus /
Eric Austin / Shelly Hartmann / Brianne Hooper / Molly Restum / Kevin Smittie
Contact Information: E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Blueberry Festival PO BOX 482 South Haven Michigan. 49090
7pm Saturday August 8th Huron Street Pavilion
Sweet Diezel Jenkins!
Oh. My. Word! These guys!!!
We can not wait to put this group of funky fun on stage as our ONLY in person musical entertainment for this shortened festival weekend!
Remember - due to high waters and social distancing we will be hosting this concert at the Huron Street Pavilion Downtown. Keep your fingers crossed, because these guys are just the spirit-lifting artist we need!
Dear Friends of The National Blueberry Festival,
As you know, 2020 has changed everything. Between the coronavirus, its economic impact on our community, and high water issues along Lake Michigan, we have all had to dig deep to keep moving forward and to stay positive. But the National Blueberry Festival rolls with the punches, and our goal is still to celebrate the South Haven community and our favorite fruit in a way that is fun and responsible! We remain committed to living our values and our mission, and keeping traditions strong, which we believe is especially important in times of disruption and unease.
The National Blueberry Festival Staff and Board Members work on the festival all year round, and we have been closely watching all of the developments and monitoring current guidelines as set forth by government agencies. It has been difficult to witness the impact of circumstances beyond our control affecting our town just as the summer season is about to kick off. It is tough to guess just what the summer holds for all of us.
Like our town, the festival is resilient. We are searching for ways to provide the festival that our community deserves while keeping safety in the forefront of our minds. Though the exact shape of the festival is still evolving, our commitment is crystal clear: we are more determined than ever to continue the 57-year tradition of celebrating our agriculture industry and everything blueberry. To that end, we will rededicate the 2020 National Blueberry Festival to celebrating the strength of our community and agricultural heritage, and to encourage safe celebrations.
We are not taking this decision to continue to move forward with our festival lightly. We understand that it will be a balancing act. Ultimately, the safety of our community and volunteers is first and foremost in the eyes of our organization. At this time, we do know that this year’s festival will be smaller than past festivals with a focus on engaging, supporting, and promoting the local community, incorporating virtual, online events, and hopefully culminating with carefully planned inperson activities around the Huron Street Pavilion in Downtown South Haven on Saturday, August 8, 2020. However, with community safety in mind, it is possible we may have to defer our in-person events until 2021 if we are unable to safely hold our festivities this August.
A lot still has to be determined and may be affected by events outside of our control. It is important to note that this is a fluid situation and we will do our best to keep our partners, vendors, sponsors, and visitors updated as our plans and the situation develops. We are always grateful for our community’s patience, understanding, and support for the festival, but we feel especially thankful for your support this year.
John Deschaine Board Chair National Blueberry Festival
While the festival is a free family event, there is a bit of cost involved to get the full experience. To really feel the speciality of the weekend, you need a T-shirt. And if you get one, then you have to buy one for each of the kids. Then of course, you want to run the 5K, because it's late in the summer and you'll have plenty of time to train. (Training will also get you that much needed "Me Time" you've been begging for). Everyone will want a slice of pie, and ofcourse, Mommy and Daddy, will need a special cold beverage at the end of the day. This all adds up to a hefty, festy amount.
This is where the Club Card comes in! We have carefully chosen what we consider the best pieces of the National Blueberry Festival experience and bundled it into one easy to use punch card.
Show your club card and recieve:
- A Slice of Blueberry Pie
- Festival T-shirt
- Branded Wine Glass
- Blueberry Goodies
- One Free Drink at Beverage Tent
- $5 Off Coupon for the 5K Registration
- Free Entrance into the Adult Blueberry Pie Eating Contest
Sound fun? Oh, it is!
The best part is - this $60 valued card is only $40!
All the proceeds from sales go towards providing as many free services and events as possible (like those suddenly very urgent Port a Potties, since "I'm a big boy now!")
So next time you and the family are talking summer plans, consider becoming "one of the club," and get your family the best deals of the festival!
Quarantine is the perfect time to sign the family up for some future fun! While this is our new normal, shelter in place can’t last forever - And with sunny August still 4 months away, we are pressing on in optimism that the National Blueberry Festival will be as good as ever!
One new addition to our festival line up is a 1K (0.6mile) Kids Fun Run!!
This quick fun jog will go from the Start Line to the Finish Line, in a quick, simple route. The Fun Run is perfect for those spouses or grandparents and strollers along the sidelines. You can run, walk or waddle this 1K route to enjoy some fresh air and exercise all before 9:00am. And let’s be honest, with little ones you are up anyway!
To make things extra festive - costumes are totally in! What a great way to reuse last year’s halloween costumes! Any other bells, clappers, or flags that your little guys want to bring for fun is greatly encouraged! Unfortunately, no bikes, or scooters.
$10 a person, and stoller riders are free!
National Blueberry Festival has been winning hearts in South West Michigan since 1963.
Let’s just put that in perspective, in 1963:
Not as popular as Bosco, but 100 times the fun, the National Blueberry Festival has continued as a treasured tradition, valuing families, farms, fun, hospitality, excellence and fiscal responsibility. As such, it has brought the party to South Haven for over half a century!
During the off season, the team of about 40 pours energy into planning a spectacular event! The hospitality crew discusses how to serve the widest range of the public in order to provide a smooth experience for all. The event leaders perfect their methods to host an exciting itinerary of elaborate activities!
It’s at this time that fundraising takes a center stage as the festival has grown into the most popular event in South Haven. Business donations, public donations, and additional fundraising events such as Fish Fling (Icebreakers) and the Golf Outing (Memorial Sunday) are hard at work to bring in the dollars needed for this 4 day festival:
That is an incredible amount of donated human and financial resources….Why?
What is it about the National Blueberry Festival, that so many people give so much to make sure it happens every year?
The National Blueberry Festival is much more than just a cool event. We celebrate more than blueberries, we celebrate life!
The older we get the more we realize how short life is; we understand that true happiness comes from deep connected relationships, gratitude, and giving back to the world. Modern society is catching on to the truth that communities need more than economic opportunities, they need opportunities to identify with their unique cultures, for rejuvenation, social connection, and belonging.
It doesn’t take all year, to put a schedule of fun events together. The hard work comes in the careful crafting of shared common experiences that positively impact our communities. The sweat is in the balance of bringing new exciting spaces, and keeping traditional familiar ones. Yes, the work is in understanding that hosting a 4 day festival can accomplish great things for society by enhancing opportunity for the following:
9:00AM - 2:00 PM on Thursday August 8th!
Get your stamp book/map and bucket and visit select blueberry farms to see all the amazing aspects of the blueberry industry. Enjoy meeting a few farm owners, playing in the fields, and maybe even picking a few tasty morsels! If you visit half the farms, enjoy a free slice of blueberry pie at the Blueberry Pie and Icecream Social that evening.
Three starting locations for your direction of travel!
South Haven: festival office 1301 M43 Highway
Starting from the north: Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market 15793 James St Holland, MI
Starting from the east: Brookside Farms 34448 44th Ave Paw Paw, MI
Sponsored by Fleming Brothers Oil Company and Value Market Convenience Stores!
Stop at any of the Value Market Convenience Stores along the way for fuel and food!
This year’s Blueberry Pie Eating Contest is going to be a real smash! Excitement around South Haven’s 150th celebration has seeped into the Adult Pie Eating Contest in a way you won’t expect: A Costume Party! Whether you bought a dress for the Chamber’s Gone with the Wind dinner, or you feel like being a blueberry, any (family appropriate) costume is a GO for this fun and quirky event. And trust us, you definitely want the bragging rights that come with the winner's sash.
For the Kids Pie Eating Contest you can expect amazing rounds that go from ages 5 to 12. Every participant gets goodies, and winners get a super cool prize from McDonald's!
Need to Knows for the Kids Pie Eating Contest:
Date: Saturday August 10th
Location: Riverfront Park
Categories: Various Ages 5 through 12
Need to Knows for the Adult Pie Eating Contest:
Date: Saturday August 10th
Entrance Fee: $10
It is split into two categories - Middle School/High School; and Post High School.
Any adult wearing a costume gets a 5 second head start to eat their pie. Now, if you have ever witnessed our Pie Eating Contest, you know what a difference a few seconds can make!
Winners of each Adult category get a beautiful, brag sash!
Additional Awards for "Best Costume", and "Crowd Favorite!"
Sponsored by: Golden Brown Bakery, McDonald's and True Blue Farms
Golden Brown Baker, McDonalds Restaurants of South Haven and Bangor, and True Blue Farms team up to get contestants delicious pies to sink their face into. The very berries used in the pies are ripening on the bushes of the fields of True Blue Farms. And the week of the festival, South Haven’s iconic bakery will be turning up the heat on these competitive little pies. Last year we calculated that the Bakery donates enough pies to fill half a basketball court!
McDonald's flips the bill, and provides all the give-aways and prizes during this signature event!
We want to say a sincere thank you to both True Blue Farms, McDonald's and Golden Brown Bakery! We could not do this with out them! Their generosity truly warms our hearts and fuels or events. Thank you so much!
The National Blueberry Festival is taking on sustainability and starting on the journey of responsible festival operation. We’re partnering with our sponsor, Monte Package Company, to provide a variety of opportunities to ‘go green’ throughout this year’s festival. When you see the Monte Package Company logo that’s your sign that there is an opportunity to lessen your carbon footprint and go green, one act at a time.
Opportunities to Go Green in 2019:
Recycling: For the first time at the National Blueberry Festival, we are proud to offer plastic container recycling. Look out for our green recycling bins near trash receptacles at most of our 10 festival sites.
Water Bottle Fill-Up Stations:There are drinking fountains at each of the brick and mortar restroom locations listed on the map. Please feel free to utilize these to grab a drink or fill up your reusable water bottle!
Transportation: Take advantage of our trolley shuttle for free off-site parking and avoid traffic downtown. Carpool with a friend. Ride a bike to town and secure your bike at the Huron St. Parking area. Walk from site to site to take-in all that Blueberry Fest has to offer. There are many ways to ‘go green’ this year!
Sponsored by Monte Package Company!
Huge thanks to Monte Package Company who is making this project happen! We appreciate them putting their values of sustainability into practice and flipping the bill for this new endeavor. When you see the Monte logo - you can take advantage of an opportunity to do an act of green, because at the National Blueberry Festival, Blue is the new Green.
South Haven is turning 150 and we are celebrating! A celebration like this only comes once, so National Blueberry Festival is pulling out the stops to highlight the 150th Anniversary during our city wide activities August 8th - 11th. The 150th theme bolsters our classic events by way of costumes, float decorations, and walks down memory lane:
But that’s not all:
The nightly Mainstage Ceremonies will put the spotlight on South Haven, as we entertain with stories of the past. Thursday Night’s Opening Ceremonies will take a fun look at the years of farming and farm culture in the area. MBG Marketing - The Blueberry People, sponsor that night’s entertainment and kick off the weekend providing the high energy band - Blue Water Kings!
During Friday’s Ceremonies, crowds can enjoy a splash of the past as the South Haven Yacht Club’s Patrick and Tara Miller share stories of the past, present and future of the local boating industry. Established in 1939, this iconic part of South Haven has provided a home to many a sun soaked boater, and a few tugs and freighters before that. Just to show you how far back we are talking, the first club fees were only $10 a year! Entergy then hits us up with a stunning show from Slim Gypsy Band, followed by The Dweebs!
Clementine’s Blueberry Blow Out:
Throughout all three throwback nights, Clementine’s will be providing excitement by shooting off 150 ping pong balls out of a canon (provided by Stoke’s Blueberries)!
Each night, five lucky people will catch the winning ball and receive a free stack of onion rings redeemable at Clementine’s restaurant!
Brothers of the Brush:
Saturday night ceremonies host our 150th Grand Finale - the Brothers of the Brush Unite! This beard competition, yes you heard that right, will be held on the Mainstage during the 7pm music break!
No registration is necessary, just some preparation on your part...namely - growing a beard!! Grow the best beard and receive a trophy signed by a few of the original Brother’s of the Brush. Or present the best false beard and win that category. Or enter your mustache, side burns, or eye-brows into the Freestyle category!
How does this all fit in? At South Haven’s 100th Anniversary, male celebration goers where required to have either a beard and a Brothers of the Brush pin on button, or a Shaving Permit button. If you had neither, the female Keystone Cops (shown here with Carole Renner, and children Debbie and Susie ) would literally put you in a jail cell where you would plead your case before the presiding judge! This was such a great memory, that 50 years later people are still talking about. So, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to unite the Brothers of the Brush!
To learn more about the Brothers of the Brush Unite competition click here, or follow our event on Facebook.