Mt. Shasta Rotary's Blackberry Festival canceled

Crowds gather under tents and umbrellas on the lawn at the Mount Shasta City Park last year to listen to music during the Blackberry Music Festival. Due to the COVID-10 pandemic, this year's event - which is a major fundraiser for the Mt. Shasta Rotary - has been canceled. The Rotary is soliciting donations to assist them in the work they do in the community.   File photo by Shareen Strauss

The Mt. Shasta Rotary Club recently announced the cancelation of this year’s Blackberry Music Festival due to COVID-19 safety concerns. The event has been an annual Labor Day Weekend tradition for 33 consecutive years. Earlier this year, the club canceled what would have been the eighth annual Castle Crags Century bicycle event, also because of health concerns related to the virus.

Merle Anderson, Blackberry Music Festival coordinator and President of the Mount Shasta Rotary Foundation, noted the club’s disappointment in canceling these events, citing public safety as the primary concern.

“The music festival and country picnic is not only a major fundraiser for the club, it is also a special opportunity for us to host a fun and very popular event for the community with great music and games for children,” said Anderson.

In spite of having to cancel its two major fundraisers of the year, Anderson said that the club is still active in supporting a variety of community projects. For example, the club will again work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife this Fall to stock and manage trout pens at Lake Siskiyou. That project results in the release of nearly 1000 trophy-size trout in the following Spring with an associated Rotary sponsored Youth Fishing Day.

Other ongoing Mt. Shasta Rotary projects and activities include support for senior nutrition, an active high school Interact Club, hosting of foreign exchange students, offering two college scholarships, local trail improvements, recreational opportunities for disabled people, and other programs benefiting the local community. The club is also involved in global humanitarian work in partnership with Save the Rain to plan and manage rain harvesting and health projects in Tanzania, Africa.

“In spite of the setbacks with some of this year’s events, the club continues to be dedicated to community service and remains optimistic about resuming activities that have had to be postponed or cancelled this year,” said Doug Carter, president of the Mt. Shasta Rotary Club. “

Mt. Shasta Rotary Club invites donations to support its community service projects and to help make up for the loss of this year’s main fundraising events. Checks made out to the Rotary Club of Mt. Shasta Foundation, which is a 501 c 3 non-profit corporation, can be mailed to P.O. Box 23, Mt. Shasta, CA, 96067.

Questions about the club’s community work can be directed to Anderson at (530) 925-6795. Visit the club’s website at