AMHERST – When the inaugural Blueberry Harvest Festival was held in Amherst last summer, organizers had no idea if it would be the success it was.
Now the second edition of the festival is back bigger than before.
“We sort of knew it would be popular because everyone remembered the festival when it was here before, but even we were surprised at how successful it was,” organizing committee member Michelle LeBlanc said. “The festivals and events committee is pleased to say the festival is back this year and will be bigger and better than last year.”
The festival begins on Friday, Aug. 7 and continues until Sunday, Aug. 10 with numerous events in Victoria Square and around the downtown.
Returning this year is the youth talent show and the Dayle’s fashion show on Friday in the square and the giant beer garden at the Amherst Stadium on Saturday. Also back will be the successful Kids Zone on Church and King Street, while something new this year as the Amherst Youth Town Council youth concert on Thursday night.
Dick’s Jamboree will close out festival activities on Sunday with entertainment from 1 to 4 p.m. in the square. LeBlanc said Dick Bristol is planning to bring many of the jamboree’s favourites together, along with a few surprise performers, for an afternoon of music.
Returning as major sponsors this year are Archway Insurance, which is sponsoring Saturday’s beer garden at the Amherst Stadium featuring Old School and the Thirsty Rangers; Bluewave Energy, which sponsored the Kids Zone and Atlantic Lottery, which sponsored the Victoria Square main stage performances.
Instead of having a closed gala on Friday night, organizers this year are holding additional entertainment in the square with Daren White’s band Second Toe and Sweet Addiction.
Other entertainment on Friday will include local performers Tony and Susan Robichaud, Mike Blakeney, Steve Wells and Katherine Hatheway, while Saturday’s entertainers include Mister J Magician, Michelle LeBlanc, Jenn and Dave Siddall, Harry Haynes and Killick, featuring Pat Melanson.
The Kids Zone will see the popular reptile zoo return along with the bungee jump along with puppet shows, a rock wall, Finding Nemo inflatable, chalk creations and the Shiner’s Clowns balloon creations.
The Kids Zone on Saturday will feature horse rides, a basketball skills competition, inflatable Pirates of the Caribbean and Euro bungee and games hosted by the Cumberland YMCA and Maggie’s Place.
It’s also expected that Lt. Gov. J.J. Grant will be in Amherst on Saturday to present the town with a Community Spirit Award.
Vendors are still being sought for the event. Anyone wishing to sell products for a small fee is asked to contact Sharon LeBlanc at Sharon’s Closet on Church Street, by phone at 667-7942 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries to the youth talent show can be made to Donna White at 660-7836. The winner gets a iPad donated by Amherst Pharmasave and Robin’s Donuts.
LeBlanc said the festival is a rain or shine event. Many of the events in the square will be moved to the Amherst Stadium in the event of inclement weather, while the Dayle’s fashion show will be held in the First Baptist Church if it rains.