MACHIAS, Maine — Events are shaping up for the 34th annual Wild Blueberry Festival, held each summer in Machias. Cooking contests, hundreds of craft vendors, concerts and other events bring thousands to Machias from Aug. 12 to 16.
Festival activities begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, with the opening performance of the annual Blueberry Musical, this year titled “Randy of Blueberry,” loosely modeled on “Andy of Mayberry.” Tickets for the show are $12 for adults and $5 for children and are available at the Centre Street Congregational Church weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by calling 255-6665.
There will be a chicken barbecue dinner starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, in the white tent next to the Centre Street Congregational Church. The dinner, proceeds from which help defray the costs of the festival, is by donation.
The blueberry festival is sponsored by the church in conjunction with the town of Machias and the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The church is home to the Machias Area Food Pantry, the Machias Bay Chamber Concerts, the Washington County Children’s Chorus, and Coats for Kids, among other activities.
The Machias Wild Blueberry Festival cooking contest will be sponsored by the Maine Wild Blueberry Commission and all entries must be made from scratch. There are 20 categories in which to enter: Appetizers, Breads, Muffins, Coffee Cakes, Desserts, Cookies, Squares and Bars, Jams and Jellies, Pancakes, Single-Crust Pies, Double-Crust Pies, Salads, Punch, Pickles, Doughnuts, Entrees, Candies, Sauces, Sugar-Free and Diabetic.
Entries will be received in the Community Room at Machias Savings Bank in downtown Machias from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15. All entries must include the recipe written on the front of a 3×5 card and the cook’s name, address and phone number printed on the back.
Judging will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the “Overall Winner,” “Best Two-Crust Pie,” “Best Girl Baker” and “Best Boy Baker.”
Every year local volunteers create a quilt that is auctioned off to support the festival. This year’s design is a bold geometric design softened by delicately stitched blueberries and blossoms. The annual quilt is handmade by a group of community women led by Helen Vose.
Each year it features a different design, integrating blueberries, and the women work on the quilt all year long. Quilts from previous years are displayed in the Centre Street Church sanctuary during the festival. Raffle tickets, at $1 each, are available online at the church’s festival Web site as well as at the church in downtown Machias. Last year 4,000 tickets were sold.
To buy tickets online, go to www.machiasblueberry.com. Tickets also are available between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays at the church.
The church will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the week of the festival, starting Monday, Aug. 10. The winning ticket will be drawn at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16.