Preparations in full swing for Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival

Darrell Cole
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Returning to Amherst from Aug. 16 to 18

Michelle LeBlanc of the Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee talks to Amherst Mayor Robert Small (left) and Cumberland County councillor Don Fletcher about the return of the Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival to Amherst from Aug. 16 to 18. 

AMHERST – The blueberry is coming back to downtown Amherst.

The Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival will officially make its return to Amherst in mid-August with a number of events in and around the downtown core as well as at other locations in the community.

“The blueberry industry plays a prominent role in our economy. There are a number of people living here who have blueberry lands and there are a lot of people working in the blueberry industry,” Michelle LeBlanc of the Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee said Wednesday. “Almost everyone in this area remembers raking blueberries or enjoying your mother’s blueberry treats. The festival will celebrate the blueberry.”

Amherst and the Municipality of Cumberland were announced Wednesday as the festival’s major sponsors.

The festival will run from Aug. 16 to 18 and feature the Bluewave Energy Kids Zone with entertainment and games organized by the Cumberland YMCA and Maggie’s Place on King Street, Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, Mr. J the Magician and the Finding Nemo inflatable and the Arctic Expedition Maze.

The Atlantic Lottery Main Stage will feature entertainment in Victoria Square, the YMCA Youth Talent Show and the Maritime Review, the Archway Insurance Beer Garden at the Amherst Stadium has already confirmed one act with another one expected to be signed in the coming weeks.

Other events will include a fashion show, sponsored by Dayle’s Department Store, in Victoria Square, a blueberry gala and a Victoria Square picnic.

“The majority of the events will be taking place in downtown Amherst, but there were will also be a number of events in other parts of Amherst and throughout Cumberland County,” LeBlanc said. “We felt we needed an additional festival. In the downtown strategy it said that if we could get 10 downtown festivals that it would be very helpful to the economy.”

LeBlanc said the business advisory committee’s festivals and events sub-committee started working on the blueberry festival last November and has been gathering steam throughout the last few months as the schedule began to fall into place.

While a number of events have already been announced, and appear in the festival brochure, LeBlanc said many more events will be announced as the festival gets closer.

For the festival to be a successful annual event, LeBlanc said it needs lots of volunteers as well as vendors to participate.

Anyone wishing to volunteer with the festival or looking to sell products is asked to contact Marcie Lewis with the town at .

Amherst Mayor Robert Small said this year’s festival will be a great launching point for a big community celebrations surrounding the blueberry.

“This is going to be a fantastic events for Amherst and the county, and for Colchester County,” Small said. “It’s great to have the blueberry harvest festival back in Amherst.”

The mayor also applauded the festival as another example of the town and the county working more closely together.

Coun. Don Fletcher, who has blueberry holdings near Advocate Harbour, said the festival will help attract tourists into the town and the Municipality of Cumberland.

“This will help both of us. We need the tourists to come to our area,” Fletcher said.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee, Bluewave Energy Kids Zone, Reptile Zoo Maritime Review Archway Insurance Beer Garden

Geographic location: Amherst Stadium, Cumberland County, Victoria Square King Street Colchester County Advocate Harbour

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