With only a few more weeks of summer left before school starts, there are a number of local festivals that you and your family should check out. One of particular interest to me is the West Virginia Blackberry Festival held this coming weekend at Clarksburg City Park in Nutter Fort. The WV Blackberry Festival is similar to those held throughout the state and country celebrating the blackberry and the history it has in the area. This year is the 19th annual celebration will be held July 30 – August 1, 2015. The festival began in 1996 as part of a homecoming celebration for Nutter Fort.
If you are like me, blackberries were a large part of your childhood. I bet you didn’t know that there are approximately 20 species of blackberries that are known to exist in West Virginia. I am pretty sure, I have tried everyone! Picking blackberries brings back great memories. From picking berries off a path in the woods, to traveling to thickets and bramble bushes high on a hill side, a lot of family time is spent gathering the delicious berries. Cobblers, jams and pies were made, baked and eaten each summer. It was great fun, and celebrating these activities helps keep the memories alive, which brings me back to the Blackberry Festival.
The planners of the event take great pride in creating fun for the whole family. From a talent show, 5-K race, car parade to of course, the baking contest; the Blackberry Festival will have entertainment and activities for the whole family to participate, even the family dog can enter into the pet parade. The full activities schedule can be found here. You are encouraged to participate in each of the events and many of the competitions come with great prizes attached.
Musical entertainment includes the Madison Douglas, The Joseph Sisters and The Fabulous Hubcaps among others. Each evening will have a musical act culminating to the final night were you can catch a number of groups leading up to a great fireworks display. You won’t want to miss the baking contest on August 1st, I am sure you will find multiple yummy recipes to try. I can’t wait to see what great old recipes are shown off this year.
To end this post, I want to offer you a special treat that I hope gets you moving to attend the festival and maybe even go out an pick some berries. A recipe that dates back to 1797 as published in the 1974 West Virginia’s Treasured Recipes: A Collection of Food and Philosophy by West Virginia Extension Homemaker’s Council, blackberry pudding. (Although it comes out more as a cake than what we think of as pudding.)
1 cup sour cream
1 egg (beaten slightly)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp soda
1.5 cups flour
1-2 cups berries
Combine the dry ingredients then add the cream and egg, mix well. Fold in the berries last. Bake in a 350 degree oven 40-50 minutes until the center springs back when pressed with a finger. Serve warm with cream or plain. You may use other fruit in place of the blackberries.
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