1. Food! With a weekend as wild and fun as this, it’s important to keep up your energy with frequent snacks, and breaks! Fleming Brothers Oil and Value Market Convenience Stores have you covered! They have donated enough goodies to curb the munchies of all of our 250 volunteers! Likewise, Biggby Coffee of South Haven has your back with beautiful muffins and doughnuts! Eat up!!
2. A Place to Hang - This year our Hospitality Team has organized a Volunteer Base as a place to get your delicious goodies, take a break in the air conditioning, and get to know other volunteers! It’s important to check in at the base before your shift to get any updates and let the leaders know you are here! They are counting on you! The Volunteer Base is at First United Methodist Church, and a huge thank you to them!
3. Festival T-shirt! This is your uniform to help mark you as one of us! This shirt can get you rides on golf carts, food, drink, and high fives! As one team, we want to look good in our signatures shirts!
4. Training! We want you to feel confident in your role making this festival happen. Here’s how you get the most knowledge before your shift:
Read the shift description as you sign up on Flipcause
Attend the Tailgating Kick Off party on June 24th
Attend the orientation July 29th at 6:30 at the Van Buren County Senior Center.
Come early to your shift, so that you can get checked in, read the onsite description, and receive a short briefing from the person you are relieving.
Likewise, pass on the knowledge you gained via briefing the next person, and in the notes section of the onsite material.
5. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee! Our director is an unashamed caffeine addict, so there is no hiding the fact that there will be a lot of coffee available! Huge thanks to Biggby Coffee of South Haven for donating over 20 gallons of ‘fuel’ for the festival.
6. Water! Ok, getting serious, we can not overemphasize the importance of staying hydrated and drinking liters of water while working at the festival. Culligan of Allegan has donated a water station for our volunteer base. Here you can get cold water in a cup - or help make blue the new green by bringing your favorite refillable water bottle! Thank you Culligan!
7. Blueberry Blimp! - Called a Blump! On Sunday August 11th at 2pm we are taking a giant volunteer photo from the sky! This is a fun, volunteer only event to highlight the team that is the Berry Best!
8. High expectations! We want to be market leaders in the art of hosting a festival. We expect all of our volunteers (as our staff team) to uphold professionalism, and customer courtesy. One way to do this, is to be sure you are having fun!
9. Weather! Let’s be honest, it’s the middle of August in Michigan. Plan for the heat by taking breaks between shifts and wearing lightweight clothing, and plan for the rain with your favorite water-proof gear.
10. Thank Yous! In Fall, you can look forward to a Sponsor and Volunteer Thank You party called the Harvest Party! This is a special time to recognize your help in pulling off this amazing weekend for the community to enjoy. But let’s get a head start - Thank You so much for being part of our tribe!
One of the best parts of the National Blueberry Festival is its dependence on community. It takes strong teams of people to pull off South Haven’s biggest event every August. One such team is the Miss South Haven Court, and the Miss South Haven Scholarship Committee.
For the week of the festival the Miss South Haven Court takes on the title of the National Blueberry Festival Court and together with their fearless leaders help us run the show! No literally! They are everywhere! Here is a glimpse of their schedule during the festival:
Thursday: Run the Little Miss Blueberry Pageant & Community Opportunity
Friday: Wrangle kids at Meijer Kids Day, Special Appearances/Meet and Greet
Saturday: Pass out water at 5K Run/Walk, lead the DeGrandchamp Farms Parade, run the Kids and Adult Pie Eating Contest
Sunday: Pancake Breakfast Meet and Greet, Sand Castle Judging,Final Farewell & Photos
YIKS!!! And all while looking fabulous to represent our community with poise and dignity.
The partnership that has developed here is a very special one. As a festival, we are able to offer the court members an incredible experience being behind something so big. When the city is humming with crowds, the music is flowing, and the energy is pumping - the students are able to say - “we helped make this happen!” Likewise, the court offers us the honor of having these specially chosen youth showcasing our festival. They are not just a dependable group of students saying yes to parades and handing out water. They heartily agree to helping us out by sweating in the sun, cleaning up blueberry pie, and helping toddlers with chalk art.
Last year we started a new tradition, that we plan on carrying on! In June, we host a dinner called Celebrating Blue as a chance for the court members and the festival to get to know each other. We talk through the culture and values of the festival, trouble-shoot dramatic ‘What If’ scenarios, and have hilarious challenges that relate to the event world. It’s also our chance, as the National Blueberry Festival, to say thank you to this amazing group of young people.
We want to officially say thank you to the new 2019 Miss South Haven and Mr South Haven and their court members! Even though we don’t know you all, we are very proud of each of you, and all that you have accomplished to earn these important titles. We are so looking forward to working with you this year!
And to all the adults, parents and committee members that serve the Court behind the scenes - THANK YOU, for being amazing supporters, ambassadors and good sports with this wild and wonderful thing called the National Blueberry Festival!
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: email@example.com 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!!!