Florida Blueberry Festival draws record turnout

04/15/2014 07:23:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Florida Blueberry Festival in Brooksville, Fla., view flats of blueberriesDoug OhlemeierVisitors to the Florida Blueberry Festival in Brooksville, Fla., view flats of blueberries for sale. In its third year, the April 12-13 event attracted record attendance and blueberry industry sponsorship. BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — The third Florida Blueberry Festival attracted high attendance and blueberry industry sponsorship.

On April 12-13, around 50,000 people visited the festival’s food vendor and commercial booths in the production area north of Tampa.

Last year, 43,000 participated, said Michael Heard, festival president, coordinator and event chairwoman.

The festival’s purpose is to educate shoppers that Florida produces blueberries in the spring and to promote Florida fruit and vegetables, she said.

Major sponsors included the Florida Blueberry Growers Association in Bartow, Alpine Fresh, Miami, Dole Berry Co. LLC, Watsonville, Calif., The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles, Naturipe Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif., Wm. G. Roe & Sons Inc., Winter Haven, and Wish Farms, Plant City.

“It was an awesome story of how blueberry competitors got together to support the Florida industry,” Heard said. “There are festivals everywhere. Some are good and some are bad but to have competitors of that caliber to come to bat and support something of this nature is just phenomenal.”

Consumers purchased up to 900 pies over the 2-day event.



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