Blueberry Fest draws big crowd

A large crowd walks down West Washington Street in Marquette during the Blueberry Festival Friday. The event offered live music, food vendors and other attractions. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — After a year off in 2020 due to — what else? — the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blueberry Festival returned to downtown Marquette on Friday.

The event had been nicknamed Blueberry Festival Lite since the downtown Downtown Development Authority scaled back the number of vendors and activities a little as precautionary measures.

Still, many people filled the area of Washington and Front streets, plus unique vendors offered their goods to those who walked by.

Those offerings included Ugly Pops, created by Daniel Madjar, Kian McDonough and Finn Swaty, all of Marquette.

Why the name Ugly Pops?

Cindy Silva of Ishpeming works the Great Lakes Gems booth at Friday’s Blueberry Festival. The annual event returned to downtown Marquette after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

“It’s waste produce, stuff that would normally be thrown away because of mere blemishes on it, but it’s still good,” McDonough said.

They get the produce from local grocery stores and farms, he said, which then is processed and made into pops.

The Ugly Pops sold at the Blueberry Festival included such produce, but they also came in the appropriate flavors such as blueberry cheesecake and blueberry-lemon-basil.

And customers didn’t seem to mind the ingredients.

“The sun’s getting people out and people are eating Popsicles,” McDonough said.

As with past Blueberry Festivals, fresh blueberries were sold, and many food items had the blueberry theme, including blueberry brats and blueberry kombucha.

The event also included live music, vendors run by downtown businesses and artisan craftspeople, face painting, and even pony rides.

The fact that the Blueberry Festival was scaled back didn’t seem to hurt business.

Cindy Silva of Ishpeming, along with her husband John, operated their Great Lakes Gems booth.

She was impressed with the day’s sales.

“I almost can’t refill half these,” she said of her many jewelry containers.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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