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Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce celebrates return of Blueberry Festival

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:32 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - After a year hiatus the Texas Blueberry Festival is back.

“We are so excited we are getting to have the Texas Blueberry Festival,” Grace Handler, festival chair said. “We’re expecting record crowds.”

No one will know until Saturday if the festival will draw its usual 20,000 people to the brick streets. The anticipation adds to the excitement.

“Everybody is tired of being locked up inside, so I think it’s going to be where people want to come out and have fun,” said Handler.

“We are going to have some live music Friday night,” co-chair Angela Wiederhold excitedly told listeners at a publicity kick-off Wednesday morning.

The Blueberry Bluegrass Concert in the Park features three bands, including the in-demand ‘Farm Hands’.

“Right now, they have the number one and number three song on Billboard charts for bluegrass music,” said Wiederhold.

The concert is free thanks to sponsorship by Rex Perry Autoplex.

Such attractions bring people in early, with a likely stayover for festival day.

“We try to put heads in beds,” said Wayne Mitchell, Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce CEO & president.

The festival is the chamber’s major fundraiser. It also brings business to hotels, restaurants, gas stations and more retail outlets.

A lot of fun is returning, but Mitchell says organizers are not ignoring the fact COVID-19 is still around.

“On a serious note, vaccinations will be available. Masks will be available, in addition to hand sanitizers. We are encouraging people to be responsible,” said Mitchell.

There are 200 vendors registered. Inquiries continue as late as this week.

“You have to keep in mind that these vendors, this is their livelihood,” reminded Handler.

Tipton Ford’s Neal Slaten is the primary sponsor. He is anxiously awaiting the festival’s return.

“All this talk of ‘new normal’. I want ‘old normal’,” he good humoredly said. “So, the Blueberry Festival is our way getting back to old normal.”

The only thing missing from the Texas Blueberry Festival will be Nacogdoches County pick-your-own blueberries. They aren’t ripe, but thanks to an Angelina County grower, the closest berry to homegrown will be available.

For information about all the activities, the festival has to offer visit www.texasblueberryfestival.com.

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