When the mimosa starts blooming and the little young-buck rabbits born in the spring are no longer afraid of you when you meet them in the way; when the days are as long as they will ever get and you can count on breaking a sweat when you walk outside night or day; when the whippoorwill is heard in the evening and the weeds are an everyday “you-again?” visitor in the garden; you know it’s time to get out the bucket, and a sheet to catch the strays, and go off to the blueberry bushes for a raid.
At least that is what they might say in Brewton, Alabama, home of the Alabama Blueberry Festival and officially one of the best—if also blueberriest—small towns in the American South. This year’s shindig, held Saturday, June 20, 2015, is the town’s thirty-fifth annual and, of course, is expected to be the best. And maybe even the best for you. Blueberries have been noted by “the experts” in recent years as having the greatest amount of “superfood” nutritional value of all fruits, and so the new blueberry craze is right up Brewton’s blueberry-bush-covered alley.
The festival began over three decades ago at the local community college but is so big now—the town will triple in size for the one-day event—everything has moved to the Burnt Corn Creek Park and downtown Brewton, a happy little Alabama secret kept about an hour north of Pensacola, Florida, and the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.
Brewton started out about the time the Civil War kicked up in 1861 as a railroad stop on the way to the coast. After the war the town headed off into a glorious growth spurt, supplying timber and lumber to points faraway and overseas by shipping it down the Conecuh-Escambia River that slices Escambia County and on down to the Gulf itself. Brewton soon became the county seat and has grown to the perfect small-town size of just over 5,000 blueberry-devouring and fun-loving men, women, and children.
The fun they love is demonstrated in a big way at their June blueberry festival. As with many small-town festivals, they will have sidewalks full of original arts and crafts booths, an all-day lineup of live entertainment (will they sing the “blues”?), and an antique/classic car show to delight the old-timers and youngsters alike. For the little ones in particular, the summertime carnival includes a petting zoo with all sorts of friendly little furry and hairy heads to scratch, a big blow-up bounce-around air-cushioned playground, a wear-yourself-silly obstacle course, a cool water-slick waterslide, and a scuttle-bug shuttle train to get you from one fun thing to the next.
But of course the most distinctive feature of Brewton’s Alabama Blueberry Festival is the Alabama blueberries themselves. Along with the funnel cakes and BBQ and kettle corn and peanuts, there will be all of the tastiest, juiciest, most flavorful rabbiteye blueberries you could ever hope to enjoy in one day—and of course you will want to buy enough to take home with you and eat when the festival is long over. Heck, you might even decide to purchase a blueberry bush or two or three at the fair to start your own crop of blueberries in your own back yard.
Don’t know what to do with all those blueberries? Pick up a copy of the Alabama Blueberry Festival Cookbook (which has more than just blueberry recipes, by the way) compiled by blueberry-lovers from all over the South. Top it all off with some hot-day homemade blueberry ice cream, and you have the makings of what Brewton folks consider a pretty darn good reason to be in south-central Alabama on an early summer’s bright and sunny blueberry-pickin’ day.
See More Alabama Blueberry Festival Pictures Here