New Jersey is one of the major sources of blueberries in the U.S. The city of Hammonton is the self-proclaimed "Blueberry Capital of the World." Residents of the state celebrate the highbush blueberries with two annual festivals that regularly draw attendees from the neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.
Whitesbog Blueberry Festival
The Whitesbog Historical Village hosts the annual Whitesbog Blueberry Festival held on the last Saturday of June each year. The Village is located in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Browns Mills. Local Pinelands artists display and sell their arts and crafts at the festival. A blueberry pie-eating contest is the highlight of the festival, usually drawing a large crowd. The Pinelands Antique Engine Association historically displays antique fire engines and offers wagon rides and walking tours to the local blueberry farms that surround the State Forest. Local musicians continuously play live bluegrass music on a small stage during the festival.
Red, White and Blueberry Festival
The Red, White and Blueberry Festival in Hammonton provides plenty of activities for the whole family. Dates vary, but it is usually held the last Sunday in June, and not on the same day as the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival. The Red, White and Blueberry Festival features a classic car show, plenty of craft and food vendors and blueberries prepared in every way possible. The live entertainment is an eclectic mixture of music that generally includes country and bluegrass, but also some soft rock. Some carnival-type rides and pony rides entertain the small children.
Pick Your Own
Both blueberry festivals in New Jersey offer plenty of fresh-picked blueberries for sale. Even though freshness is guaranteed, nothing beats the experience of picking your own blueberries right from the bush. While in the Hammonton or Browns Mills areas, stop at one of the local "U-Pick" blueberry farms and pick some yourself. Children learn how blueberries are grown and enjoy the hands-on experience.
Wild blueberries grow in most of the state forests in the southern part of New Jersey. While visiting the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival, take a walk through Brendan T. Byrne State Forest where you can find wild blueberries, which are smaller than the cultivated ones and not as sweet. Don't eat them, though -- leave them for the birds.
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