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.
Well, the last of the blueberry harvest is here in Southwest Michigan. The resilient, final berries are being frozen, puréed, and put into golden pies.
This time of year, it's important to remember that blueberries don't “just happen.” A harvest of these awesome little bites, takes an entire community of people. No one demonstrates this more than MBG Marketing and its collaborative Board of Directors led by CEO, Larry Ensfield.
MBG Marketing is an industry leader that strives to produce, market, and sell blueberries while keeping growers at the center of decision making. Their heart and headquarters are in Grand Junction, Michigan, although don't be surprised if you find them all across the state and across boarders, including Indiana, Oregon, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, and British Columbia. The biggest out of state operation is the 'Best in Class' and IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) facilities in Alma, Georgia. Their best practice mindset and local focus has respectfully and rightly earned them the title of The Blueberry People.
We celebrate the 100th birthday of Chemical Bank this year. After decades of serving in the city of South Haven, it is no surprise that Chemical Bank has stepped up to the plate to support the National Blueberry Festival at a Platinum level! For them it was a no brainer. “I am really glad it worked out,” says Dorothy Lockwood Manager of the M43 branch and the woman behind the giving. “We love National Blueberry Festival, and I love blueberries! We want to ensure we spread our support around. That’s the joy of the way our banking system is set up. We are a small bank with big community support. This allows us to plug into the community in valuable, locally fitting ways.”
We're always working on ways to improve the National Blueberry Festival, and looking for great partners in the community that can help us raise the bar for what a festival can and should be!
This year, we're excited to partner with Red Cross of South Haven to offer a first aid, hydration and hospitality tent at the Riverfront Park. If you need a drink of water, a place to get out of the hot sun for a few minutes, or a band-aid, our amazing volunteers will be more than happy to assist! The Red Cross tent at Riverfront Park will be open Thursday 5-10pm, Friday 11am-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sunday 11am-3pm.
Big thanks to Red Cross of Southwest Michigan!