Many shoppers helped make this another big year for the Florida Blueberry Festival, with the event educating consumers about the availability of the state’s spring crop.
Though final numbers weren’t available in mid-April, the number of visitors packing the festival April 16-17 is expected to slightly exceed last year’s record 60,000, said Michael Heard, festival president, coordinator and event chairwoman.
The event celebrated the fruit’s harvest season and offered events and activities for many interests, including a children’s area.
Aunty Oxidant, the show’s mascot, pointed to the berry’s nutrients and health benefits.
“We promote blueberries very well because we do the whole western part of the state,” Heard said. “We are branching out next year for the whole state and plan to work the program with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to promote blueberries,” Heard said. “Our thrust is to let people know there are blueberries in Florida in March, April and May.”
This was the fifth year of the event and major sponsors included the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles, Naturipe Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif., Wm. G. Roe & Sons Inc., Winter Haven, Wish Farms, Plant City, and the Tallahassee-based Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Fresh from Florida marketing program.