Organizers beaming with festival results
© Darrell Cole - The Amherst News
The inaugural Blueberry Harvest Festival in Amherst is being hailed a success. Just a couple of days after three-day event wrapped up, festival chairwoman Michele LeBlanc said early indications are that it exceeded expecations.
AMHERST – It’s going to take a long time to wipe the smile off Michele LeBlanc’s face.
The chairwoman of the Amherst Blueberry Harvest Festival is still beaming at how everything came together over the weekend with the town’s first blueberry festival in at least 25 years.
“I started to smile on Friday and I have been smiling ever since. I am just overwhelmed at how things went and the response we received,” LeBlanc said Tuesday looking back at the three-day festival in and around downtown Amherst.
After coming up with the concept last fall, the Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee’s festivals and events committee spent several months putting together the festival without really knowing what the community’s response would be.
The result was a festival jam-packed with events and streets that were full of vendors, entertainers and festival-goers enjoying the sunny weather and the festivities.
“It exceeded our expectations and the committee feels it was a great success,” she said.
The Kids Zone, organized by the Cumberland YMCA and Maggie’s Place, saw a number of games and events for children including a couple of inflatables (Finding Nemo and the Arctic Expedition Maze) as well as a reptile zoo, a magician and the Eurobungy from Prince Edward Island.
LeBlanc said the opening gala on Friday was sold out as well as the beer garden featuring Hal Bruce and the Big Bad Marty Band.
There was also the Dayle’s Fashion Show, the YMCA youth talent show and downtown car show on Friday and the Maritime Review in Victoria Square on Saturday.
The festival saw a number of vendors and food vendors selling the wares on both Victoria and Church Street and LeBlanc said most of the comments were favourable from those participants.
LeBlanc said attendance was strong at most of the events in the square.
Now that the inaugural festival is done, the committee is already looking forward to next year and is collecting information from people who took part in the event.
Gladys Coish, president of the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce, said all the comments she has heard have been positive.
“It was an outstanding event,” she said. “We’ve heard nothing but good things about the festival and the organizing committee is to be commended for everything it did to bring the festival back to Amherst and make it an annual event.”
Next up is the Downtown Street Party on the Thanksgiving weekend.