Nacogdoches turning blue in time for Blueberry Festival

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - "You looking forward to The Blueberry Festival?," Asks Cowboy Max, a ropin', wooly-chap-wearin' promoter for the Texas Blueberry Festival.  He's joined by a costumed plump blueberry at the festival's kickoff press conference. The two eye catching gimmicks in this year's Texas Blueberry Festival may be a bit corny, but it works. Hotel rooms are available, but going fast. "The bed and breakfasts are primarily full," said Sherri Skeeters, with the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Downtown shops are preparing for thousands of visitors."Everyone has got discounts on all their blue items," shared Sarah O'Brien, Main Street director.  "They've special ordered chocolate covered blueberries, blueberry preserves. You name it,they've got it in all the downtown stores." Even the big box stores get excited this time of year. "We sell chairs, we sell umbrellas. We sell hand held misting fans," said Rebecca Littleton, Wal-Mart representative and festival sponsor.

Everything pays tribute to a sweet little fruit chocked full of vitamins. "We have lots of activities for the kids," said Michelle Smith, festival volunteer.  "We have three stages of entertainment that will be performing throughout the day. We have our record number of vendors this year."

A late freeze killed a third of Henry Sunda's crop, but he's not singing the blues. "We are going to start packing them tomorrow because 20,000 pounds, that's a big order," said Sunda, manager of Hayter's Mill Creek Farm. There's even enough to share with the Kiwanis for Saturday morning's blueberry pancakes.  "They'll go into the hopefully 3,000 or more pancakes that we plan on mixing," said Candice Wagnun.

Festival goers are expected to create an economic impact of over 1 and a half million dollars. That's a lot of money to rope in during a recession.