Pies sold out quick at well attended Blackberry festival

Shareen Strauss
Mt. Shasta Rotarians and student volunteers stand behind their famous Blackberry pie. They baked about 350 pies to be sold at the Blackberry Festival on Sunday and they sold out quickly.

Celebrating the end of summer, record crowds flocked to the Mount Shasta City Park on Sunday to enjoy the 33rd Annual Blackberry Music Festival and Country Picnic, where 375 pies sold out in two and a half hours.

Sitting under awnings, umbrellas and in the shade of the trees, many listened to the music while enjoying pie, drinks and other foods as others danced and played under the warm sunny skies.

Admission was free for the musical performances by Jessica Malone, Blackwell Brothers Band, and Secret Society Handshake.

Throughout the day there were a variety of games like sack races and water balloon toss for the kids, with prizes for the winners.

Hosted by the Mount Shasta Rotary, there were also about 35 Interact and Rotaract students that volunteered.

“It’s a tradition,” said Rotarian Lynn Teuscher. “It is my 28th year running the sack races. We have a blast. They get ribbons and prizes for placing in the different age groups ... We have students volunteer from Interact and the leadership classes. It is good to see the youth participating. It also makes my job easier.”

Mandy Williams from Redding watched her children and their friends participate in the sack race competition.

“We always come up, camp in McCloud and come here to the Blackberry Festival,” William said. “The kids love the games which is the reason we come – and of course, there’s the pie.”

Redding’s Frank Jimenez watched his 5 year-old son Victor fly his kite.

“We have about 30 family members meet here each year for the Blackberry Festival at the Siskiyou campgrounds. We love this. It’s like a family reunion. There are a lot more people here than the last few years – they are filling every corner of the park,” he said.

Rotarian Audra Beylik said that the Rotary bakes about 350 blackberry pies, which the festival is known for, along with the other food and beverages.

There were also special event Blackberry Festival t-shirts sold by the club.

Besides the food and beverage booths, there were also information booths about some of the Mt. Shasta Rotary projects, such as the Save the Rain and Goodbye Thirsty, both international projects that provide water to people of Tanzania by building rainwater-harvesting systems.

“We are selling handcrafted items from Tanzanian women,” said Rotarian Linda Stremel. “Now, instead of having to walk six to eight hours each day for water, they now have time to develop businesses like making these craft items to support themselves.”

“Other projects,” explained Rotarian Tom Hesseldenz, “are still in the works, like building a permanent bridge above the delta at Lake Siskiyou and completing the shoreline trail around the lake through the campground.”

All proceeds from the Blackberry Festival go toward other Mount Shasta Rotary projects, including dictionaries for third graders, leadership camp, the Senior Nutrition Center and the Mount Shasta Library. It also helps sponsor Rotary’s youth and education programs.

The Mount Shasta Rotary Club is in its 70th year. They are welcoming other local businesses and people to join them to help support the community. They meet on Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m. at the Mt. Shasta Resort’s Highland Room. Contact them at mtshastarotary.org or find them on Facebook.