Last festival’s Friday Night Entertainment was a roaring success! Jedi Mind Trip rocked out after Funkle Jesse warmed up the crowd for dancing! Favorites were played by excellent musicians and the Riverfront Park was packed. Midway through the concert, Entergy branded multi colored glow sticks started getting passed through the crowd and complemented the boat lights glowing along the river. People are still talking of how great this night was.
After 55 years of National Blueberry Festival, scenes like this could become common place to those living in South Haven, but they are anything but. We dance, sing, eat and relax together as a community. Nostalgic Friday night concerts make lasting memories for everyone there. If you think back, I am sure you can place yourself as a teen with your friends. These memories are a gift from Entergy - Palisades Power Plant.
With maintenance outages, and running a Nation’s top rated Nuclear Plant, you may be surprised to know all that Entergy-Palisades gets up to around South Haven area. Tours, blood drives, Adopt a Highway, South Haven Robotics Team, 5K fundraisers in Benton Harbor, backpack drives in Covert, Dragon Boat Races, Lake Michigan College, Habitat for Humanity, Mentoring programs, Pilgrim Haven’s public access, and our two personal favorites, the Bobby Walker Basketball Tournament and National Blueberry Festival’s Friday Night Entertainment on the Mainstage!
Entergy - Palisades’ involvement in community causes and recreation, truly reflects their passion to make our area thrive. No matter what the future holds, Entergy-Palisades has built an awesome legacy, that has and will continue to yield fruit for years to come. We as a festival are so grateful for what they do and the mark it makes on our youth, elderly, and all those in between.
So when you hear the music in Riverfront Park and think “Wow! What a great band!” take a moment to tip your (hard) hat to Entergy-Palisades Power Plant, and thank them for making our community proud.
From now through March we are running an "Unsung Heroes" series to highlight the amazing people and businesses behind South Haven's favorite National Blueberry Festival. Let's start...
Unsung Heroes - Part 1: Meijer
Joyful spirits abounded as kids, babysitters, parents, and grandparents ran from booth to boot in a colorful menagerie of activities! "Welcome to Blueville" says a friendly voice. It belongs to a crowned National Blueberry Festival court member who greets you kindly as you walk into the transformed village of Blueville, Meijer Kids Day's extraordinary event in Riverfront Park.
Fill up your card with stamps from the community hosted events and trade it in for fun treats, toys and trinkets. Each hands-on activity is designed by a unique community organization to teach kids about their areas of expertise. Of course, between activities kids can visit the clowns, get a twisted balloon, or have festive blueberries painted on their faces! What a blast, and it's all free, thanks to Meijer!
"We all go big for this day!" says Megan Cairns the festival's director. "Meijer has a representative onsite, doing great giveaways and of course, they fund the entire event, so that we can provide it free to the kids! The South Haven Meijer is an absolute shining star in our community, so it makes sense that this event is a star of our festival!"
The way the event is designed showcases South Haven's amazing non-profits through fun, carnival-like games, or artistic activities; this echos the value that Meijer has not only to the festival's 12 and under patrons, but also to the community at large.
Meijer Kids Day happens on the Friday of the festival, and is attended by over 300 kids, not to mention their parents, grandparents, and those pretending to be kids. The day has it's own team dedicated to putting on this memorable event. The Meijer Kids Day Coordinator - Maryhelen, starts planning for next year, literally the day after the event runs. "A whole lot of hours go into this event," says Megan. "Not to mention, the balloons, cupcakes, flags, toys, and candy!"
This vibrant day happens in River Front Park and is a not to be missed festival within the festival!
HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR SOUTH HAVEN MEIJER!!
We are thrilled to announce that we are adding a Logistics Coordinator to our team! If you think this could be you please email your cover letter and resume to INFO@BLUEBERRYFESTIVAL.COM; or mail to P.O. Box 482 South Haven, MI 49090
Logistics Coordinator Job Description:
Who we are:
We are a 56-year-old South Haven, Michigan tradition. The National Blueberry Festival (NBF) is the biggest event in town and a highlight for locals and tourist alike. Our mission is to celebrate Southwest Michigan’s mighty superfood - the blueberry. We host 50 hours of family-centric fun, partner with over 20 local organizations, host a tribe of over 280 volunteers, and showcase over 100 sponsors. Our Board of Directors is an active, vibrant group of locals that work closely with the Director to keep the festival constantly improving and growing into a market leader for the Michigan event industry. The Logistics Coordinator will work directly under our Festival Director.
Values and Culture:Above all, we are about fun! We love blueberries, and use them as a platform to help our community find positive recreation and connection. The Logistics Coordinator needs to fit well into this culture of play, positivity, fun and focus on community wellness. Remember, fun is not at odds with hard work, rather it enhances it.
Roles and Responsibilities:Team Management and Volunteer Coordination:
Works with Director to support and guide event and department team leaders. This will include:
Oversight of Festival Services:
Ensuring timely coordination and confirmation with partners for the services offered at the festival. Including but not limited to:
Blueberry Central Market:
Organizing the Blueberry Central Market by:
General Day to Day Operations of the NBF
Assisting with the day to day operations of the festival:
PLEASE EMAIL YOUR COVER LETTER AND RESUME TO INFO@BLUEBERRYFESTIVAL.COM; OR MAIL TO P.O. BOX LISTED ABOVE.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUBMISSION!
Everyone can be a VIP at the first ever National Blueberry Festival VIP Party
Friday August 10th at the Asylum Inn 424 Huron Street 5pm -7pm
Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door.
Get your best shoes and smoothest shades out for this first ever National Blueberry Festival VIP Party! Sometimes you need a break from T-shirts and flip-flops, and want to dress up for an exclusive evening where you feel like the top dog! We’ve got just the thing!
Purchase of a ticket to the VIP Party, will get you admission into a stunning event to kick-off your summer evening. Receive your branded wine glass and complimentary raffle tickets, as you enter the exquisite patio of the Asylum Inn, one of the last remaining buildings of South Haven’s early stately mansions. Sip two complimentary drinks, as you listen to J.Cavataio’s opera voice sing you to New York and Broad with his soulful renditions.
Heavy appetizers prepared by Beeches Golf Club, will keep away the stomach rumbles, and satisfy your inner ‘foodie’. Rub shoulders with festival organizers, then hit up the cash bar, and place your raffle tickets into your favorite picks of one of kind experiences! Maybe you’ll even take home your own blueberry bush!
This party is for anyone! We want you to treat yourself to a little something extra special! And if you feel guilty buying things for yourself (like a VIP ticket) remember this - it is for a great, blueberry cause!
Shhh….A sneak peak at a few of the fun prizes you could win!
Raffle tickets are included in the admission price, with additional raffle tickets on sale at the event to double your odds!
All the money raised at this event will go towards the 2019 National Blueberry Festival! We want our festival to keep people laughing, relaxing and connecting for years to come. For us, to be a festival is to be about people. Thank you for being about people with us!
Learn More about our performing artist J.Cavataio! http://www.jeffreycavataio.com/bio/
He is a spectacular singer, with a heart of gold. Be swept away by his powerful voice, or enjoy his charm during during the break… Just be sure to say hello!
Every wonder what goes into making a festival happen? Enjoy getting to know a few board members in their relaxed mode, as they enjoy hosting you this evening. Let us serve you. Afterall - tonight YOU are the VIP.
Buy tickets through the black button at the top.
We are proud to announce a new Saturday morning event to get your kids up, running around and feeling great! A Kids Soccer Clinic is happening at the fields in Kids Corner on Monroe Blvd. from 9am - 12noon Saturday August 11th. Come on over!
Kids will enjoy a quick warm up and review, then be split into age appropriate teams and start the games! Each group will play till there is one team left - just like the World Cup! Everyone will get a medal just for being awesome - but champion medals will be given to the winning teams!
There will be food, fun, and hopefully a few new friendships, because the real goal of this event goes beyond just playing soccer. “This event is to recognize and celebrate the role the children of the Hispanic migrant workers play in both our blueberry community and our communities at large,” says festival Director, Megan Cairns. “We want to stay true to our mission of appreciating the role blueberries play in our area. Part of that is noticing the faces behind this great fruit, and we don’t want to forget this important sub community.” The aim of this soccer game is to host a culturally relevant, and fun activity in honor of these great kids.
Knowing that Covert Public Schools has a large (80%) Hispanic population, Spanish speaking coaches, and a strong athletics program, the National Blueberry Festival asked to the Athletics Department to be their partner in this new endeavor. They gave a huge thumbs up!
“We are super excited to have Covert Public Schools on board,” said Minerva Salgado, more commonly known as Minnie, the co-owner of Michigan Pure Blueberries, an organic farm in Covert and lead volunteer for this event. “They are so enthusiastic and professional we are very excited to have them working with the kids as the host of this event.”
Covert Public Schools is making it happen. They are providing the equipment, refs and coaches to run the soccer element. “It’s a big responsibility to keep the kids evenly matched, guided, and having fun.” says Minnie. Venessa Fricke is the Athletic Director for the school. She is strong, directive, and people centric. There is no doubt that she is up to the challenge and can do it all with a smile. “Mrs. Fricke is clearly here for the kids! She has a passion to make a difference in each student’s life - and sports is a great medium for that. We are really pleased to have her and Covert Public Schools literally on the team ” said Minerva.
Michigan Pure Blueberries is a certified organic farm that signed up as a National Blueberry Festival Agritourism partner. You can find them at the Blueberry Central Market, just after you finished the soccer games. Minnie and her husband Rafa run a small blueberry farm in the heart of Covert. “Minnie has put a lot into the 2018 festival!” smiles Megan. “We found each other at just the right moment in time. We were scratching our heads on how to best honor and include the kids of those working to harvest blueberries...Minnie has helped us make this happen in such a positive way!”
If you would like more information on bringing kids from your group email Minnie at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at: 269 -767-7159
The National Blueberry Festival would like to give a special thanks to Covert Public Schools, Athletic Director Venessa Fricke, Minnie Salgado and Michigan Pure Blueberries for making this new event a reality!
Nestled in sunny Huron Street, the Asylum Inn is a treasure. When Mark and Tina Goodrich bought this stately, 100+ year old inn, they rescued and restored it to a place of deep rejuvenation for the body, mind, and spirit! Each room has spectacular comforts and attention to detail that make it easy to unwind and let the nostalgia take effect. In these rooms, the pride and passion of it's founders and keepers overflow.
Every year the National Blueberry Festival needs to a safe place to stretch out. Hosting service providers, meeting up for daily briefings, running and staging events all happens out of this site. This year, the Goodrich family came up with a plan – use the Asylum Inn.
“We are so looking forward to this!” says Megan Cairns, National Blueberry Festival's Director. “Using the Inn as our festival base will help the festival run smooth, provide much needed assistance, save cost, and provide our team with a place to touch base, have a cup of coffee, then get back out there.”
The Asylum Inn will be a busy place during the 4 days of community fun, but the most exciting use is as the venue for the festival's new Friday night party!
“We love shaking things up!” says Aaron Mohr, National Blueberry Festival Board Member, and host of the new party. “This year we are hosting a VIP Party for a chance to do something extra special on Friday Night. It will be great value for money, and give you exclusive opportunities to win some awesome prizes.”
The Asylum Inn's grandeur and classic culture make this a stunning venue for the launch of the new VIP Party. Live music, food, drinks, and amazing give aways all happen on the beautiful patio and gazebo at the Inn. Most definitely a must see event!
Although there is hardly a still moment, the National Blueberry Festival is really all about giving people an excuse to go do something fun! It's a time to relax, listen to music, eat great food, and really decompress from life's demands. The Asylum Inn speaks to that goal so well. It stands year round as an opportunity to embrace that joy and calm more often.
Tina and Mark have gone above and beyond in our South Haven community; offering the use of this beautiful site is just one example of their loving investment in their town. The Asylum Inn feels like a second home. You could come back year after year to this stunning Inn, and feel the familiarity and tranquility of home.
Tina Goodrich – Founder, Innkeeper and ever the entrepreneur works as a realtor at Jaqua Realtors.
Mark Goodrich – Founder, Innkeeper and ever the navy seaman works as Plant Manager at Lovejoy Inc.
A huge THANK YOU to them both!!!
Sign up for the Blueberry 5K Walk/Run is open, and you should sign up. Here's why:
1. Feel like a winner! Why not participate in an event that gives you that strong sense of success at the end! Much of our daily lives are clouded by undefined goals, vagueness, and uncertainty whether we won or lost in a give situation. Why not take the chance to literally cross a finish line and feel the exhilaration of a real champion win. You did it!
2. Feel Better! With just over 3 miles of beautiful summer sites to stretch your legs on, you can not help feel great after finishing. You will benefit from the fresh oxygen, lake views, and heart pumping movement, whether you walk or run.
3. Feel the love! Connect with a community of athletes that, like you, have found joy and harmony in the act of sport. This is a time to get together to challenge, inspire and discover new strengths with in ourselves. Do this within the chatty, friendly community of runners/walkers at the 2018 Blueberry 5K. Make new friends along the way, or see how many of yours will join you in the fun!
Another 3 great reasons to join in on the fun are these three faces! You've seen them around South Haven. (From left to right) Ryan Servatius from Century 21, Dr. Max Masters from Masters Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, and David Thompson from Foodtools and Crossfit Current are all getting up early to make sure this event is at it's best. In between the laughs and coffee these sponsors and organizers want to see both experienced and novice athletes at home and happy at the 2018 Blueberry 5K Walk/Run. We want to thank them and their companies for reminding us that behind every festival event is an A-team!
A special thanks to Kim Wise, former race director, who is coaching us all along the way!
Ready to race? To sign up for the Blueberry 5K Walk/Run or just find out more information, click here.
“A Frozen Fish Fling!”
“What do you do? Fling a frozen fish?”
Hilarity broke out among the crowds as the Ice Breaker Festival's new event ensued - a Frozen Fish Fling. It is as simple as it sounds. You fling a frozen fish as far as you can. Who ever throws the fish the farthest gets a cash prize! The two runner ups get amazing little fish trophies. What unique bragging rights!!!
The idea for this new event emerged with the 25th Anniversary of the Ice Breaker Festival. “We wanted to do something really fun for our twenty fifth” smiled Susan, the Assistant Director of the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, and Vice President of the National Blueberry Festival Board. “The Frozen Fish Fling was a great solution! It's light-hearted, simple and just a lot of fun!”
Susan pulled the event together which included sourcing bottom dwelling sucker fish that are not good to eat. “We wanted to use a fish that would have otherwise been thrown out. It's important that we have fun in a responsible way...and I am glad we did - people loved this event!”
Now, if there is anyone who can smell a fun event a mile away – it's the National Blueberry Festival! Excited to have some winter exposure and always up for laughing the festival was proud to host the new event, the Frozen Fish Fling. When the big day came there were about 80 adult participants and just under 100 kids. Everyone of them smiling!
Anna Krajecki, John Deschaine, Sharon Chun, Christine Chun, and Brenda Dagget, were the hardy volunteers that bundled up, and ran around with clip boards and fish buckets to make this event happen! Not only were they swift and professional, they were charming and vibrant with the crowds and contestants, making the atmosphere around the Frozen Fish Fling a warm and jovial space. Thank you all! (Additionally, we'd like to thank that 'random guy' that started helping us collect the fish from the far side of the field; whoever you are – you were such a hero. Thank you!
The top three winners of the adult category got stunning trophies. The first place winner split entrances fees with the National Blueberry Festival. The Frozen Fish Fling was not meant to be a fund raiser, but it covered it's cost, an even came out on top. Thank you to everyone who donated and participated! The Chamber's great marketing of this event and festival is obvious. There was about 400 people watching, laughing, flinging or just having fun!
“We want to say a huge thank you to the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce for inviting us to be part of this new event,” says John Deschaine, National Blueberry Festival's Board President, and Head of Marketing at Do-It Corporation. “The Chamber does a lot for the community, and the success of this event is just one more example of the effort they put behind local businesses and organizations. We think they are just great!”
John was one of the 6 volunteers that joined, the volunteers, out in the cold chasing fish. Thank you John!
When the Miss South Haven Scholarship Pageant announced it's 2018 theme of blueberries, the National Blueberry Festival was jumping out of its seat to be involved. The festival that “celebrates everything blueberry,” is always thrilled to see that the impact of blueberry production has not been lost on local community members. It certainly wasn't lost on Brandie Rainey, chair of the Miss South Haven Scholarship Pageant. “When we heard that this year's pageant was meant to 'roll out the red carpet' for something in our community, we all knew it had to be blueberries!” Brandie and her committee sought out local partners as ways to ignite education around the industry. “This pageant is really about learning, and an opportunity to encounter new people, new understanding, and shape a new view of yourself and your community.” As a prize to the winners, the Board of Directors for the National Blueberry Festival will be hosting a dinner party for the 2018 Court. It will be a chance to educate the students on the unique side of the industry that the festival runs.
“We are elated to be included in such a big event to our community,” said Megan Cairns, Director of the National Blueberry Festival. “The Miss South Haven Court is one of the greatest ambassadors for our town, and to have them highlighting blueberries is just awesome. They have given us as a festival, great exposure, and we are so grateful!”
The South Haven Court and the National Blueberry Festival have a tradition in which the court is crowned the “Blueberry Court” during the 2nd weekend of August. Here they act as both ambassadors and volunteers at many of the festival's sites and events. “Becoming the Blueberry Court is a highlight for the students,” smiles Brianne Hooper, Pageant Director for the festival's Youth Pageant/Community Opportunity, and committee member of the Miss South Haven Scholarship Pageant. “It is a part of the package that the students really enjoy and look forward to every year. We want them to engage even more this year! The court is used to working hard and giving back to the community. We feel that they have a lot to offer.”
In addition to the Blueberry Court is the festival's own Little Miss Blueberry court – the winners of the Youth Pageant/Community Opportunity. They are chosen during the kick off of the festival, and represent the festival throughout the year. “The Little Miss Blueberry Court did amazing representing and helping at the pageant in January,” Megan says. “They were so professional, proud and confident on stage. We really appreciate what they and their families do for us. They may be little, but they are doing great things!”
The 2017 Miss South Haven Court volunteered 50 hours for a four day festival! The 2018 Court has already threatened to top that! They surely will, as Megan has big plans for both Blueberry Courts. Their incredible attitudes, desire to learn and to give back fits perfectly among South Haven's key event. Among other task at the National Blueberry Festival, the Miss South Haven Scholarship Pageant will be working the festival's signature event – the Blueberry Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by Golden Brown Bakery, True Blue Farms, and McDonalds of South Haven and Bangor.
The National Blueberry Festival supported the Miss South Haven Scholarship Pageant at the Gold level through in kind donations of balloons, helium, cases of pop and water, wristbands, and a gift card to put towards redoing their float. The festival is very proud of the opportunity to tighten it's partnership with such an awesome and impactful group.