This weekend, June 24 and 25, 2017 you can attend some blueberry festivals in New Jersey. One is the 34th Annual Whitesbog Blueberry Festival in Browns Mills. The GPS address is 799 Lakehurst Road. It is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. The other is the Red, White, & Blueberry Festival in Hammonton at the Hammonton High School at 566 Old Forks Road. It takes place on Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Since the Whitesbog Festival started on Saturday, some of our staff members decided to give it a try. We made sure to pack a canteen full of water, sunscreen, hats, fully charged phones, and an empty duffle bag. The duffle bag was added to our list from experience. When you go to a festival, you’re bound to buy several things, and sometimes there are free items in different booths. It’s wonderful to be able to just put them all in a duffel bag instead of trying to juggle a bunch of individual bags!
The ride to New Jersey was pleasant. We had good conversation, and the sky and clouds looked amazing. I started out the trip with zero pictures in my phone, so I was able to take pictures of the sky without worrying about running out of storage space once we reached the festival.
We got there in the early afternoon, since it was a last minute decision to go. There is plenty of parking, and the $10 fee includes a shuttle bus to the actual festival. It was interesting to be on a school bus again. When I was young enough to ride one every day, they didn’t have seat belts on them, but this one did. We were able to see the cranberry bogs on our way. We had been to Whitesbog before in the fall, during cranberry season.
The bus dropped us off in the middle of one part of the festival. When we were departing the bus, the first thing I noticed was the bubble machine, which added a whimsical touch. We saw several booths set up with antique engines and machines, and some antique cars and tractors around. We saw what I imagine was a butter-churning machine, some antique lawn mowers, a folding sawing machine (which I guess was a precursor to a chain saw), and many other machines.
Then we saw the rope making booth, where you get to make your own rope. It was very popular. We decided to stop back after we checked out the rest of the festival since there was a long line.
The next thing was an early 1900s corn grinder. There were actually two machines. The first one was a corn sheller which quickly and easily pulled the dried corn off the cob. The second ground it up to make corn meal. It was interesting to try, but I have to admit I probably wouldn’t want to have to do it all of the time!
The main part of the festival had food, crafts, and many other things. We strolled around and enjoyed seeing all of the sights. It was a beautiful summer day. We saw some people on dune buggies, and some people were taking wagon rides.
There was live music with different bands, blueberry picking, history tours, family field games, and mural painting. We didn’t get a chance to participate in everything, though. We’re going to the other festival on Sunday, so if we get time maybe we will stop back in Whitesbog.
At one booth, you could feed a blueberry to a turtle for $1 donation. If you have ever watched a turtle eat, you know how amusing that is to see! The group, Turtlesinger, Inc., is an educational charity. They had three turtles there – Bart, Gracie, and Rocky. I fed the medium sized one, Gracie, a blueberry from a plastic spoon.
There were many booths with craft items, such as clothing, tie dye shirts, birdfeeders, and hand-made soaps. They also had honey, and products made from beeswax. There’s also a little general store there. We bought some blueberry fruit spread, strawberry-cranberry preserves, honey, dark chocolate covered blueberries, a bottle of sarsaparilla, a bath fizzy, and some soaps – and of course, some blueberries! Of course there were plenty of yummy foods. I wonder if I should have given blueberry pulled chicken a try…
In one area, there were some snakes, a red tailed hawk, and a screech owl. Near there were also some tables for Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge with some feathers and talons, a turtle shell, and what I believe was a fox pelt.
Before we left, we went back to the rope making booth to give it a try. The sign said, “Early 1900s rope making; small hand powered machines allowed farmers to make rope on the farm using binder twine”. There were three spools of twine that run through loops and join together, and you gently pull them and walk back and forth to attach them to the other end a total of six times. Then you use the separator made of wood to keep it from tangling. You slowly turn the handle and the twine twists into three parts which then join together to form a rope. The machine is set up so one end moves toward the other since the rope shortens as it is wound. The line to make the shorter rope was long, so we made the long rope first. That requires two people – one on each end. The shorter rope can be done with just one person. It’s one rope per person, so we made one long one together, and then I made a short one. You get to keep the rope you make, so it’s practical as well as fun. The shorter rope can be used for a jump rope if you want, which is why that line was longer – the kids were all there instead of the station for the longer rope (which seemed to be all adults).
Then it was time to catch the shuttle bus back to the parking lot. Over all, it was a rewarding experience, and we recommend that you try it out!
Check out additional pictures on one of our Instagram accounts!