St. Columba blueberry festival attracts Alabamans

Posted:  Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 10:00am

For those who like blueberries, St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Boothbay Harbor on Aug. 12 was the place to be. The church hosted its 12th Annual Blueberry Festival with a pancake breakfast, baked good sale, boutique and silent auction.

When two summer visitors from Alabama saw signs around town advertising the festival, they were among the first who arrived for the 8 a.m. blueberry breakfast. Danny Weaver and Richard Tubbs have spent their summer vacations in Boothbay Harbor for the past four years. But they didn’t know about the festival until this year.

“We saw the sign and thought, ‘Great, let’s have a blueberry pancake breakfast,’” Weaver said.

The two men escape Alabama’s heat and humidity for Boothbay Harbor’s seaside tranquillity. They stay at Spruce Point Inn where they enjoy watching and listening to the nearby ocean. “It’s the most beautiful place in the world and I love every day here,” Tubb said.

But they had never experienced the festival. So besides the weather and lobster, they now have another reason to love Boothbay Harbor: Maine wild blueberries.

“I’m more excited about the baked goods,” Tubbs said. “We have blueberries in Alabama, but not like Maine’s. The wild blueberries are smaller and sweeter so this is something we’re definitely looking forward to.”

The festival is a fundraiser for the church. The breakfast offers a choice of plain or blueberry pancakes, sausage, honey cinnamon butter mix, blueberry compote, coffee and juice.  Church volunteers contributed several blueberry baked goods such as muffins, cake and pie, as well as items without blueberries. The boutique sold jewelry and clothing. The silent auction included donated items from local artists such as a Murano glass bowl, ceramics, and sailing adventure gift certificates.

Mid-August is a good time for the festival. The season is ideal for eating berries at their peak, and the church doesn’t have to compete with other non-profit groups sponsoring an event.

“This is our time of the year,” said Festival Chairman Jane Homer. “It’s a good time of the year for blueberries and we thought a blueberry pancake breakfast and bake sale would be a good way to celebrate the season.”

The annual festival also attracts dozens of volunteers. Cathy Tyler manages the bake shop. She recruits bakers to make both blueberry and non-blueberry baked goods. She also teamed up with another volunteer to bake blueberry pies. Tyler said she participates in the festival each year because it is a worthwhile community event

“It’s a great family atmosphere here with everyone helping out. We take care of each other in this community and we’re all one big family. It really makes you feel good inside doing this.”