Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

Camel rides big hit at Wellborn Blueberry Festival

Vatalluney and Vallerie of Live Oak, riding Boris the camel as he smiles for the camera. One of the most popular kids attractions at the festival this year. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

An estimated 11,000 visitors shopped with over 100 vendors during the blueberry festival. -SVT Photo

By Tami Stevenson

Taking advantage of the great weather last Saturday, an estimated 11,000 visitors gathered at the 29th Annual Blueberry Festival at Andrews Square in Wellborn for a blueberry good time.


The event is sponsored by the Wellborn Community Association (WCA) where proceeds go toward helping the community throughout the year.


WCA Secretary and event organizer Annita Leonard said they started a food bank this year in Wellborn, and the blueberry festival will help fund it. “Today, we were able to give out 200 bags of non-perishable food items to the public. We ran out before 11 a.m.”


While enjoying everything blueberry, event goers also discovered unique finds at more than a hundred vendor booths – 109 to be exact, according to Leonard.


“Originally, 114 vendors signed up and five didn’t show up, so we had 109. That’s not bad!” Said Leonard.


“We went out of our way to make sure we had a really great children’s corner this year.” She added. They had the balloon pop wall, sand art, duck pond, gummy worm drinks for the kids, pony rides, camel rides and a mechanical bull.


Boris the camel was very popular with a long line of kids and parents waiting to pay the $10 per person/child to take a ride on the hump-backed gentle giant. Handler Alan Stevers told the Suwannee Valley Times Boris is eight years old and they bought him about 4 yrs ago. “He is a real pleasant animal,” Stevers said, “very gentle.”


A dog, four-year-old Blue, sat on top of the mechanical bull between riders, greeting everyone that passed by. Owner G. W. McLeod, known as “Cowboy” to most, said he has been doing this six years and is based out of Sale City Georgia.


Leonard said she received good feedback from the vendors that attended the festival and many are planning to come back for the Cornbread Festival in the fall.


One such vendor, Blue Skies Firearms Academy from O’Brien, said it was their first time at the festival and they had a wonderful day, it certainly was worth coming. They had a ton of feedback and a lot of interest.


Leonard said they sold over 1,000 breakfasts this year at the festival. She added, they have a bake sale and breakfast at the Community Center the first Saturday of every month. The breakfasts are only $5.00, offering choices of Bacon, Sausage, Eggs, Pancakes and Grits from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. They usually sell out.

Peoples Choice Award Car Show winners
1. Richard Clayton - 1969 Chevelle, Lake City

2. Gary Hooper - 1934 Ford Sedan Delivery From Belle

3. Colton Huntsman - 1971 Plymouth Barracuda of Wellborn

The Grand Prize winner was Stan McClellan with a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, from Valdosta.

Parade Grand Marshalls were Robert and Kathy Noble.
Float winners:
1.Wellborn Float
2.Elvis Float
3.Rainbow Girls
4.Forestry with Smokey Bear
5.Florida Roof Masters

A special thank you to the band directors and students from SHS and BHS who pulled together a combination of band students from both schools to march in the parade.

This event offers WCA the opportunity to help the needy at Christmas time or when there is a fire or other emergency. “That’s why we started the Cornbread Festival, because there just isn’t enough to go around,” Leonard said.


She told of when she was a teacher in Ocala, at the beginning of one school year in particular, a little boy, each day during lunch, would only eat half his lunch and wrap up the rest. Leonard said they watched him do this for a week, then asked him about it. The little boy said he was taking half his lunch home for his little brother because he was hungry too and they didn’t get any other food. From that day on they began sending peanut butter, jelly and bread home with the boy. They were grateful they had the opportunity to give out 200 bags of food during this year’s festival.


The WCA wanted to thank all the volunteers, vendors and visitors for making the 29th Annual Wellborn Blueberry Festival a success and invite everyone back to Andrews Square for the Cornbread Festival this fall.

Gavin Lasko, Annita Leonard’s grandson, of Live Oak, is riding the bull. Gavin is an animal enthusiast and wants to be a vet or vet tech when he grows up. He is going into the 10th grade and attends Faith Academy in Lake City.
-All SVT Photos by Tami Stevenson

 

Specialty Breads by Rebecca Mueller. Rebecca and Annita Leonard bake breads and cakes for the monthly bake sale and breakfast at the a Center the first Saturday of every month.
-SVT Photo

Suwannee Station provided the live entertainment for the 29th Annual Wellborn Blueberry Festival held in Andrews Square. -SVT Photo

New mural just painted for their blueberry festival by local artist Doug Fisher. -SVT Photo