Festival planning underway

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Aug. 16 to 18

AMHERST – There may still be snow on the ground, but the Festivals & Events Committee is already planning for the Blueberry Harvest Festival, which takes place Aug. 16 to 18.

“We’re starting off small,” said committee chair Michele LeBlanc.

Small means three days and a hoped-for visitor tally of about 5,000. The town of Amherst is being asked to contribute $3,000 for the event, which represents about a quarter of the projected budget.

Last year’s downtown street party saw about 2,000 people out, claimed LeBlanc. The street party will happen again this October, with new kids and seniors elements added. But the blueberry fest is intended to reach beyond downtown to the rest of Amherst, the county and other communities in our area.

“It’s going to give them a reason to come home,” said the chair.

Some of the events planned include a fashion show, a youth talent show, an evening of Maritime music, a beer garden and a Sunday picnic. LeBlanc expressed her hope events will be planned for the South Albion-Robert Angus end of town. A carnival is on her list of possibilities.

It’s a chance for business and property owners to come together, she said. The committee planning the event is a sub-committee of the Downtown Business Advisory Committee, which acts as a liaison of sorts between downtown businesses and the town’s government.

The intention of the blueberry celebration – Nova Scotia is the largest processor globally of wild blueberries, LeBlanc thinks – is that other towns in the county will join in with hosting their own events, whether it’s a blueberry tea or a pie-eating contest.

LeBlanc said a blueberry festival was a popular event in the past but it’s been well over a decade since one was held. Her hope is that this newly-established tradition will grow in subsequent years.

The street party is expected to take place October 11.

esparling@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Festivals Events Committee, Downtown Business Advisory Committee

Geographic location: AMHERST, Nova Scotia

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