FOOD, FUN, FRIENDSHIP ABOUND AT BERRY DAYS CELEBRATION
But all good
things must come to an end, and Berry Days did just that on
Sunday evening. As the last tents were folded and the musicians
put their instruments away, Bill Collins heaved a satisfied
"My company puts together twelve shows
a year, but this is my favorite," he said. "Probably
because I'm a complete sucker for anything with blueberries
in it. That, and this wonderful town. It's a great place.
Nothing bad ever seems to happen here, and the show always
runs smoothly. I can't wait for next year."
Neither can the rest of us, Bill.
The winners in this year's Berry Days Contests
are as follows:
Pie-eating, under 10: Ashley Brandon, age 8
Pie-eating, 11-17: Corey Jones, age 17
Pie-eating, adult: Luke Garfield, age 23
Pie-eating, seniors: Frank Anderson, age 72
All winners received gift certificates for
a free slice of pie at Waffle Wagon Restaurant.
The Berry Cookoff was won by Helen Hope for
her Tripleberry Spice Pudding. She was awarded a fifty dollar
gift certificate from The Cook's Nook and a copy of the Berry
Honorable Mentions went to Kim Steele for her
Gooseberry-Glazed Porkchops and Alan Darcy for his Strawberry-Rhubarb
Crumble. Each won a twenty-five dollar gift certificate from
The Cook's Nook.
The Pie Baking contest was won this year by
Lessa Nightsong for her Apple-Blueberry pie. Her prize was
a free copy of the Berry Days Cookbook and a Berry Days tee
The jams, jellies, and preserves contest was
swept by the ladies from the commune for the third year running.
First place: Elspeth Stewart for her Black
Current Preserves. She was awarded a Berry Days Cookbook,
a selection of wooden spoons from The Cook's Nook, and a silverplate
berry dish provided by Antiques 'N' Stuff.
Second Place: Deborah Coleman for her Seedless Raspberry Jam.
Her prize was a Berry Days Cookbook and a ten dollar gift
certificate for The Cook's Nook.
Third Place: Mary Ann Peel for her Marionberry Jam. She was
awarded a copy of the Berry Days Cookbook.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Berries, Berries, and More...
by Claire Olney
It's May, and everyone in Whispering Pines
knows what that means.
This is the time of year when strawberries,
marionberries, berries black and blue, and almost any other berries you
can name, ripen to tempt our palates and fill our pantries.
Pies, jams, jellies, shortcakes, cobblers, and more are made
tasty and attractive with the berries our region is noted
Small children go out to fields to pick wild
berries and return home with empty buckets and red-stained
hands and cheeks.
And, for the seventy-eighth year in a row,
Whispering Pines has celebrated Berry Days.
For three days, Indian Lake Park was the site
of the annual festivities in honor of our favorite fruit.
Festival goers, both local and from out of town, spent the
weekend eating berries, listening to a variety of bands, admiring
local crafts, and taking part in cook-offs and other contests.
Children enjoyed the face painting booth and the storytelling
and magic tricks of Berryella the Clown.
Attendance was up this year, according to promoter
Bill Collins of WG Collins Productions.
"Last year we got about thirty thousand
people through the gates. This year it has to be at least
forty. If it keeps up at this rate, we'll have to find a bigger
place to hold the festival."
From talking to some of the attendees, Collins
may need to think about a change of venue as early as next
"I came from Seattle to see this fair
because my cousin Julie said it was so much fun," said
Marcy Greenwald. "When I get home, I'm going to call
my whole book club and tell them about this. I'll definitely
be back next year, with as many of my friends as I can convince
to come along."
Greenwald's six-year-old son, Travis, agreed.
"The clown is funny, and there's lots
of pies. I got a blueberry pie and a strawberry pie, but I
don't like raspberry, so I didn't get that. I want to come
back next time and get more pies."
boy Brad Connelly also had a good time.
"It's great. I brought my folks and my
grandparents and my sister. We're all spending the day together
as a family. There's good food, good music, crafts, stuff
for little kids to do. You can't beat it for a fun time. I
look forward to Berry Days all year."
Begun in 1925 by local farmers, Berry Days
has grown from a single pie-eating contest into a local tradition
and cultural cornerstone of the community. Now, in addition
to the pie-eating contests (there are divisions for under
10, 11 to 17, adult, and senior citizens), there are contests
for pie baking, a berry cook-off, berry tastings, a Berry
Blossom Queen, and three days of entertainment, arts and crafts,
much of it provided by local residents.
This year's Berry Blossom Queen, nineteen year
old Jennifer Cox, is proud to be a part of such a long-standing
"Berry Days has been going on for a long
time now, and it's a part of living in Whispering Pines. Berry
Days is older than my grandfather, and it will still be here
when I'm older than my grandfather is now. It's like I get
to be a piece of Whispering Pines history."
This sense of history and community surrounds
the event for participants young and old, local and visiting
from far away.
"I may not be from this town, but I love
this show," says Arizona native Shelley Barr who has
sold her handcrafted pottery at Berry Days for the last eleven
years. "In the craft business, it's easy to get burned
out on fairs because you go to so many and they get to being
alike after a while. There's just something welcoming and
homey about this one. And as long as I make sure to bring
a few things with strawberries painted on them, I always make
In fact, this reporter couldn't help adding
to Barr's profits by buying a serving bowl - painted with
Strolling by the lake, visitors could listen
to bands ranging from rock to Irish to Dixieland Jazz from
shortly after daybreak until the festivities closed down at
nightfall. As for food, there was a choice between such delicious
concoctions as blueberry ice cream, strawberry shortcake,
Swedish pancakes with Lingonberry sauce, and lamb kebabs marinated
in raspberry juice and garlic. Even the ice tea was flavored