Blackberry Music Festival canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Contributed by the Mt. Shasta Rotary
Mt. Shasta Rotarian Molly Aston cuts one of hundreds of blackberry pies made specifically for the Blackberry Music Festival each year.

The Mt. Shasta Rotary announced Monday that it's canceling the in-person Blackberry Music Festival at Shastice Park Sept. 5 due to COVID-19 concerns.

"The club has called an audible and will offer only blackberry pie sales in lieu of hosting the traditional music festival and picnic on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend," the club said in a press release. The pies have long been a favorite of festival attendees and a significant source of fundraising for the club.

The club’s decision comes after careful consideration for the perceived safety of public attendees, vendors, musicians, the available number of volunteers it takes to host the large outdoor community event, and looming air quality concerns. “Rotary loves the tradition of the Blackberry Festival, an opportunity to bring locals and visitors together in a fun way to raise funds for community projects,” said Tom Stienstra, club president. “We hope that this year, offering pie sales will add to Rotary’s ability to support youth programs, scholarships, senior nutrition, food distribution, outdoor recreation, third grade dictionary donations and more.”

A volunteer crew will bake hundreds of blackberry pies for pre-order and pick up at City Park on Sunday, Sept. 5. These are the same pies the community has come to love over the years and will be priced at $30 donation each. Stay tuned for details on how to order your whole blackberry boxed pie or make a donation towards Mt. Shasta Rotary’s community projects by following MtShastaRotary on social sites and announcements in local media.

“The Rotary Club appreciates the support it receives from Mechanics Bank related to the Blackberry Festival and the cooperation of the Mt. Shasta Parks and Recreation District for use of park facilities,” said Merle Anderson, event chair. “We thank the community and those who were going to participate in this year’s festival for their patience in our efforts to again host the event, and we’re happy that we can go ahead and bake and sell our famous blackberry pies.”

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