By Erika Giovanetti
July 12, 2013. The awe-inspiring mountains of North Carolina have always provided plenty of blackberries for the pickin’. As a result, locals have passed down recipes for blackberry dishes like cobbler for generations, and this year’s 12th annual Blackberry Festival Saturday, July 13, perpetuates the old-time tradition of pickin’ berries by honoring blackberry cobbler in a huge way.
The festival is happy to host the Colossal Cobbler Project, a communal effort to make the world’s largest patchwork of blackberry cobbler. To participate, just pick up baking supplies from the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce July 11th from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., bake your cobbler, and drop it off at the lower level of the Community One Bank on Saturday between 9 and 11 a.m. A small flag with the name of your group or organization will be placed on your cobbler. To register or for more information, call Libby Killian at 828-726‐0616.
The Colossal Cobbler Project is celebrated with a Colossal Cobbler Parade Brigade, in which members of the community transport the cobblers two blocks to the festival location. Cobblers are transported by wagon or simply by carrying, but wagons are encouraged and can be decorated. The Caldwell Chamber recommends organizations and groups to wear their uniforms or other company garb to promote business.
The festival initiates Friday night at 7 p.m. with a Blackberry Recipe Contest, sponsored by SunnyRidge Farms. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners of the adult and youth categories at the festival on Saturday. Entries are judged on presentation, texture, flavor and originality. The judging takes place at the Wine Cellar & Bistro located at 128 Main Street in downtown Lenoir. For an application, click here.
Friday night also features the Parking Lot Pickin’, which is an opportunity for musicians to compete to be the final set during Saturday’s festival. The musicians are also judged for cash prizes. To participate, just show up to Hogwaller Stage between 5:30 and 7 p.m.
The Blackberry Princess Pageant kicks off the festivities Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Contestants, aging from rising kindergarteners to rising third graders, compete for the crown based on appearance, personality, and a simple interview. Casual or Sunday dress is required, so no makeup or pageant clothing is permitted. For more information and an application, please contact Chassidy Triplett at 828-758-2617.
A tradition of the Blackberry Festival, the Blackberry Eating Contest is a surefire way to get your fill of blackberries for the day. The contest is sponsored by Lineberger Farms, which provides each participant with a container of blackberries to guzzle down in a hurry. The winner receives a cash prize as well as a goodie pack from the Chamber. To register, stop by the Caldwell Chamber.
All day Saturday, festival patrons may listen to live music, shop around the many vendors, and participate in kid’s activities sponsored by the Family Resource Center. The Lenoir Fire Department honors our country with the Presentation of Colors at noon for a moment of reverence.
For more information about the festival, contact the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce at 828-726-0616 or click here.