28th Wellborn Blueberry Festival – Enjoyed by thousands
Association member Rob Dawson has been involved with everything from organizing the music for the festival to flipping hotcakes for the last 10 years or so and was busy flipping hotcakes again this year. He said they normally go through around 500 pounds of blueberries for the hotcakes each year. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson
By Tami Stevenson
Wellborn, Fla., – The 28th Annual Wellborn Blueberry Festival was bigger and better than ever this year, according to organizer Annita Leonard, with an estimated 10,000 visitors attending the
festivities that featured live entertainment throughout the day.
Guests flocked to Andrews Square in downtown Wellborn on June 4. They came early and stood in long lines for 45 minutes or longer at three different breakfast locations to get the famous blueberry pancake breakfast, buy blueberries before they sold out, and of course, why come to a blueberry festival without taking home a blueberry bush or two?
The Country Store stayed packed all day as visitors came to get homemade jams and jellies, pies, baked breads and other delicacies.
Leonard said they even had to create another row for vendors as they had more booths than ever, 117.
Rob Dawson, a Wellborn Community Association member and long-time volunteer who was flipping hotcakes on the grill, said they go through around 500 pounds of blueberries for the breakfasts and serve anywhere from 750 to 800 breakfasts by around 10:00 a.m. The blueberries come from two local farms that donate the berries each year. There were two breakfast stations in Andrews Square and the third location was at Wellborn Baptist Church, just down the road. Shuttles went back and forth to carry visitors to both locations throughout the day.
A new addition this year was an ATM machine. Event goers can plan on the ATM being a part of the festival next year and moving forward. “From here on out, each time we have a festival, we will have an ATM available for visitors,” said Leonard.
The children’s corner stayed busy as they featured face painting, a duck pond, a petting zoo and pony rides.
The Red, White and Blueberry parade featured something new this year that attracted on lookers. Volunteers held a reenactment of a bank robbery that took place in Wellborn during the 1920’s. Association member Roger Duffield was the grand marshal of the parade.
Wellborn Community Association President Mayso Martin, along with Annita Leonard and other organizers wanted to thank the Sheriff’s Department. “They went above and beyond helping us,” said Leonard. They also wanted to thank the fire department, AAA Porta Serve and the many volunteers that make this event possible. “I don’t know how they do it. They worked tirelessly!” Leonard stated.
She added that “…the hard work makes it all worth it when during Christmas time, (the association) has the money to supply Christmas presents for 122 children. When its Thanksgiving and we have the money to supply the food for 100 dinners and to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to around 50 shut-ins, that’s when you really appreciate all of the hard work. When you know what the pay-off is, that’s what makes the difference, that’s why everyone does it.” She continued, “If there’s a fire in our community we help with that, and if people need food, we help. We want to give back and this is how we do it. We are grateful to everyone that helps make this event a success. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Leonard wanted to remind readers to make plans to attend the 2nd Annual Cornbread Festival coming in the fall.
Blueberry bushes and other plants stood along side the long line of folks waiting to get the famous blueberry pancake breakfast in the building next to the plants. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson
It was estimated the event this year drew some 10,000 visitors during the 28th Annual Blueberry Festival in Wellborn. -SVT Photo
During the Red, White and Blueberry parade, volunteers held a reenactment of a 1920’s Wellborn bank robbery. The car used for the reenactment is owned by Sherman Stanley of Sherm’s Auto Repair.
-SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson
At the second breakfast station, Jordan Weldon, former president of the association, left, was flipping hotcakes while Erik Mederos washed some pans in the building next to the plants.
Local residents Robert and Stephanie Barnes with 2 year old son, R.J. Stephanie is nine months along. She said the candied jalapeños were delicious and the blueberry muffins from the Country Store were also delicious. She added that she cannot come to the blueberry festival without getting some blueberry bushes! -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson
Festival organizer Annita Leonard, left, answering questions. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson
Finally to the end of the line! Mabel Peters of Live Oak, center, out with her two daughters, Melissa Meyer of Jacksonville, left, and Tammy Peters of St. Augustine, said they had waited in line for approximately 45 minutes and it was worth the wait!