When I was a kid, my dad was a serious runner, traveling all over the state to run in different races. The Sam Costa Half-Marathon. The Jay County Turkey Trot. The Plymouth Blueberry Stomp.
When I was younger (and smaller), I even ran in a few of these races, in the 1 mile fun runs. I never got to run in the Blueberry Stomp (and frankly, I don’t plan on starting), but I had one of my dad’s t-shirts, and I had it for several years before I outgrew it, and my dad reclaimed it as one of his running t-shirts.
I think of those races, and that shirt, every time I hear about the Marshall County Blueberry Festival in Northern Indiana, right there along US 30 and State Road 17.
They’re holding the Stomp again this year, on Monday, September 5th at 9 am. But that’s not all they’re doing. As with any annual festival, the Blueberry Festival is filled — FILLED! — with stuff to do. But it’s not just the race. There’s a tennis tournament, a softball tournament — girls’ fast pitch and fat old dudes’ slow pitch (they don’t really say that on the schedule; I did), a volleyball tournament, a waterball tournament (whatever that is), a cheerleading competition, and of course, pancake breakfasts for anyone who wants to carb load without all the running that comes afterward. Oh, and don’t forget the Arm Wrestling tournament on Sunday.
Of course there’s going to be plenty of music, including a Northern Indiana favorite, Elwood Splinters Blues Band on Sunday night. I met the lead singer, Harvey Stauffer, several years ago when he was doing the weekend blues show on WVPE, the Elkhart public radio station. There’s also Flip Side and headliner Joe Diffle performing on Saturday night.
There’s also fireworks, events for the kids, food items, arts and crafts, and even a parade. This place gets packed each year, and it’s no surprise, because it’s 4 days of non-stop activity.
There’s no admission to the festival itself, although some of the different tournaments may have entry fees. Be sure to check the Blueberry Festival website for a schedule, photos, and directions.
Photo credit: TheatricAl03