By all accounts, the Klamath Chamber of Commerce’s Second Annual Blackberry Festival and Harvest Celebration was a big success and an outstanding effort that drew more attendees than last year. The opening ceremony included performances, the singing of the national anthem and a blessing by Margie Clarke keynoting the significances of Patriot’s Day in honor of victims, their families and friends whose lives have been changed forever.
Attendees and vendors alike thoroughly enjoyed the park setting of Ray Reynolds’ Camper Corral RV Resort and Campground, which he donated for the day. The day was sunny, the atmosphere was festive and exciting and the vendors seemed to socialize more with each other and with their customers.
Physically handicapped folks in wheelchairs, walkers and those with baby strollers loved their ability to effortlessly move throughout the festival grounds of green grass with many going barefooted. The bands and entertainers were exceptional. People danced on the lawn throughout the day to music from the Mud Sharks, laughed and applauded the musical duo Verna & MJ. They enjoyed Elverna La Franchi Martin and Marion Martin for the interesting stories, music and songs, thoroughly enjoyed the music of singer-songwriter “Bud,” and proud parents and friends listened to youths conducting a song fest.
We had a large number of vendors who featured jams, muffins, pies, cobblers, smoothies made with blackberries and other berries. Some had ice cream and blackberries, chocolate dipped blackberries and even fried bread and blackberries topped with whipped cream.
Additionally, Indian tacos, fresh vegetables from the Klamath Community Garden, Philly cheese steak and tri-tip sandwiches, corn dogs and chili were on the menu. Attendees left full and satisfied or packed their treasures home to share with the family.
The winner of this year’s blackberry bake contest was a blackberry pie from Eleni Corcovelos, the niece to Mary Corcovelos, who won the contest last year. A contestant named Elanor (no last name provided) won second place with a blackberry cobbler and third place was Charlene Spore for her blackberry pie.
Other vendors displayed art, wood crafts and beautifully crafted cutting boards, stylish etched-glass creations, birdhouses, creative jewelry designs, knitted and baseball hats and tie-dye shirts to scratch that shopping itch that many come to festivals to scratch.
The kids were entertained throughout the day with activities that included Home Depot’s youth building project, blackberry stomp, petting zoo, Smokey the Bear, games, crafts and even help to draw the 50 raffle prizes donated by businesses, individuals, and festival vendors. If that wasn’t enough, many businesses from Eureka to Crescent City donated resources, material support, provided newspaper coverage and radio air time.
The Second Annual Blackberry Festival and Harvest Celebration was a Klamath Chamber-hosted event, but it was clearly a testament of “support in community” by all those who gave of themselves, their talents, energy and resources that made the festival a real success for all those who attended. These businesses and individuals ask for so little in return but gave from their hearts so that others would have a day to remember.
Paul Crandall is president of the Klamath Chamber of Commerce.