By David Rogers. July 1, 2017. LENOIR, NC — Not everything “cool” happening in July is in the High Country. With live music featured on four stages and special competitions for dessert and jelly recipes, as well as a songwriting contest — and much, much more — the North Carolina Blackberry Festival in nearby Lenoir’s downtown may well be the “coolest” event of the summer.
The 16th Annual NC Blackberry Festival will be held July 6 – 9th. The event will be full of music, drinks, food, activities, and fun for everyone!
New York’s Coney Island has nothing on the NC Blackberry Festival. Yep, hot dog-averse vegetarians with a competitive streak may think they have died and gone to heaven when they sit down to compete in a Blackberry Eating Contest during the festival. With juices squirting in all directions, you might want to bring a bib (and maybe a change of clothes!).
Want something a little closer to “black tie”? An Evening of Everything Blackberry might be your ticket. Blackberry-infused food and drink, music by the Starlighters, and dancing in the streets should make for a well-spent evening.
Blowing Rock will be well represented in the spiritual sense in the festival, as Blowing Rock Brewing Company is one of the featured local and regional craft beer vendors in what has been dubbed, “The Black’beery’ Beer Garden.” It will be open during the July 7th “Pre-Heat Party & Downtown Extravaganza,” 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and during the July 8th NC Blackberry Festival, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
And what would a blackberry-themed festival be without blackberry cobbler? Well, how about a “Patchwork” of cobblers? In fact, how about a Parade of Patchwork Cobblers? Pasadena, California may have the Rose Parade with all of those flower-decorated floats on New Year’s Day, but the NC Blackberry Festival has a parade brigade of highly decorated wagons, each filled with blackberry cobbler — and being pulled along the downtown streets of Lenoir by the baker (and significant others, perhaps) himself/herself. So far, there have been no reports of favorite chefs extraordinaire being injured by mobs of spectators wanting to “lighten” their wagon-load, but there is always a first time!
Saturday morning (July 8th, 10:00 am) at the Festival also features the Blackberry Belle Pageant for girls, 4-9 years old. Each contestant has one minute to impress the judges with their “personality.” In the past, contenders vying for the coveted crown have used singing, dancing, hula-hoop, reciting poems and short stories, cheering. Just about anything goes. They also get to pull a question randomly out of a hat and answer it. This is not your typical pageant: no formal pageant wear or makeup is allowed!
And if your toes are a tappin’ when you sit down and think for a spell, you might want to enter the Front Porch Pickin’ Songwriting Contest. On Friday, July 7th, each musician/band will perform at the main stage in Downtown Lenoir by the Beer Garden. Regional musicians will act as judges to choose the top 3 songwriters of the night. The songs will be judged on originality of lyrics, creativity within the genre, melody composition, and overall performance. Winners will be announced at the end of the Front Porch Pickin’ on Friday night. On Saturday, July 8, the 3 winners will have the opportunity to take the Main Stage as performers for the NC Blackberry Festival at 3:30 PM, with their best song, chosen by the judges.
These are just a few of the special events and competitions. For the full schedule, see below OR visit www.ncblackberryfestival.com.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
THURSDAY, JULY 6, 2017 – “AN EVENING OF EVERYTHING BLACKBERRY”
- 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm | A ticketed event on Main St. in Lenoir featuring blackberry infused cuisine, drinks, music and dancing.
FRIDAY, JULY 7, 2017 – “BLACKBERRY PRE-HEAT PARTY”
- 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm | Black”Beer”y Garden Featuring Local Breweries and Craft Beers
- 6:00 pm | Blackberry Belle Pageant Preliminaries
- 7:00 pm | Live Music – Front Porch Pickin’ Competition
- 7:00 pm | Blackberry Recipe Contests
- 9:00 pm | Glow Run 5K & Fun Run
SATURDAY, JULY 8, 2017 “NC BLACKBERRY FESTIVAL”
Vendors, Food, Children’s Activities and Blackberries all day!
- 10:00 am | Live Music all day on three stages throughout the Festival
- 10:00 am | Blackberry Belle Pageant Finals at Stage 3
- 10:30 am | Live Music at Stage 2 – Shelby Rae Moore
- 10:30 am | Blackberry Festival Blood Drive
- 11:00 am | Live Music at Stage 3 – Scupper’s Sagacious Squeeze Box Feat. Long John Shivers
- 11:15 am | The Blackberry Eating Contests (Youth & Adult)
- 12:00 pm | Presentation of Colors Ceremony
- 12:15 pm | Colossal Cobbler Parade
- 12:30 pm | Live Music at Stage 2 – Melissa Reaves
- 12:30 pm | World’s Largest Patchwork of Cobbler
- 1:15 pm to 3:30 pm | Live Music on all Stages
- 3:30 pm | Front Porch Pickin’ Winners at Stage 2
SUNDAY, JULY 9, 2017 – “BLACKBERRY JAZZ BRUNCH”