• Gabriel Donio

Red, White & Blueberry Festival returning in June


The Red, White & Blueberry Festival is returning this year. (Courtesy Photo)

The Red, White & Blueberry Festival is returning this year.


Fans of the festival and its famous fruit—the blueberry—have something to look forward to in a little less than three months.


The Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce recently announced planning has begun for the 35th Annual Red, White & Blueberry Festival on Sunday, June 27, 2021 at the Hammonton High School grounds on Old Forks Road, just off the White Horse Pike (Route 30) in Hammonton, New Jersey — The Blueberry Capital of the World.


“We discussed it at length, understand the changes to be made, the health concerns and protocols that have been mandated. There will be modifications, but the essential ambience of the festival will be maintained,” Red, White & Blueberry Festival Committee Chairman John Runfolo said in the press release.


According to the release, the festival is the Chamber’s signature event and has combined music, cars, crafts and food for more than three decades, to become the Delaware Valley’s premier family festival.


“Our blueberry liaison has contacted the local farmers and the star of the show — The Blueberry — will be ready for all its fans. The festival will be fun, delicious and safe,” Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce President Ben Ott said in the press release.


Visit the Chamber website at www.hammontonNJ.us and Facebook for details in the coming weeks.


According to the Chamber’s website: “We are currently planning this event under the guidelines which are effective starting March 19, 2021. Hopefully, as the situation improves, we will be able to adapt and expand with new mandates in place. If that occurs, there may be more available space at the festival.”


The website also outlined information for food vendors, crafters and participants:


“Due to current state restrictions, we have decided to limit the number of crafters and food vendors to approximately 60-75% of the normal number. All protocols will be honored: distancing, wearing of masks and sanitizing of surfaces, etc.


“Crafters—As many of you know, this is a juried event [Applications available on the Chamber website.] Tighter deadlines will be in force.


“Food Vendors—Returning Food Vendors have been notified. If you would like to be put on a waiting list please email us at info@hammontonnj.us.”


People should visit the Chamber website periodically for the latest information on the festival.


So, the good news is there will be a festival, operating at a level that is closer to what we were used to in the past when it was last staged at Hammonton High School, albeit somewhat downsized.


Protocols will also be in place to prevent against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).


The Chamber is making a bold and significant move, one that sends a message of opening the town and moving forward, with caution. Everything about the press release they issued makes it clear that no one associated with the Chamber is taking the virus lightly.


They believe they can hold a Red, White & Blueberry Festival, and I agree they should be able to try to make it happen.


People look forward to Hammonton’s events.


In the spring and summer, they enjoy the Red, White & Blueberry Festival, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and, now that it’s been bumped to September, Cruisin’ MainStreet … Remember Friday Nights. These and other open-air festivals are part of the fabric of Hammonton during the warmer months, as much as the beach and boardwalk are part of the shore.


And remember: it’s the 35th Red, White & Blueberry Festival this year.


I was at the first Blueberry Festival, under the canopy of trees at the Hammonton Middle School (now St. Joseph Academy). The food, music, crafters and classic cars, then just a couple of blocks from my house, was amazing to my 13-year-old senses. I was hooked from the start, and I’m glad it’s still going to be held this year.

 


Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.