Blueberry Festival draws record crowd with big berries

Arlington's Elicia Kirk is a regular attendee of the Bryant Blueberry Festival, but the warm weather July 26 forced her to ride in the car rather than biking there.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The Bryant Blueberry Farm's sixth annual festival returned to its fields July 26, drawing a thousand attendees from throughout the western side of the state and beyond.

"We had a few more show up than last year," farm owner Jamie Flint said. "Our crowds have been growing every year."

While the farm's pony rides, face-painting and balloon animals all proved popular, the biggest draw were the blueberries themselves, which visitors picked by the literal bucketful.

"We've had a really heavy crop this year," Flint said. "A mild spring gave us a terrific bloom and a great foundation for a plentiful crop."

Flint also credited the area's peat bog with providing ideal grounds for the berries.

"That's why our berries are a lot bigger than normal," Flint said. "Peat is the natural environment for blueberries, so you don't have to amend the soil."

Indeed, this year's crop produced so many berries that Flint is eager to see people return for the summer weekends to come.

"We've still got lots of berries on our bushes," Flint said. "They look like they've hardly been picked at all."

The farm's "you-pick" blueberries are $2.50 per pound, and are available for picking through late August.

Flint encouraged people to stop by the 15 other area farms on the Red Rooster Route.

Those who visit at least 10 farms become eligible to win its "Road Rally," which offers a grand prize of a one-night stay for two at the LaConner Country Inn, including dinner for two at the inn's Oyster Thistle Restaurant & Pub.

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