NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Annual Texas Blueberry Festival in Nacogdoches is only two weeks away.
This means thousands of visitors will converge on the brick streets June 10th. This year, organizers are asking businesses to find ways to encourage guests to come earlier and stay later.
Grace Handler, the chair of the Blueberry Festival makes it a point to visit downtown businesses about two weeks out from the Texas Blueberry Festival that she chairs.
"What are you doing?" Handler asked Rachel Underwood, the owner of Rachel's Antiques.
"Well what are you up to?" Underwood replied.
The Texas Blueberry Festival is in its 28th year. It's always the second weekend of June, but business owners often let the time in between slip away.
"This is the end of May," Handler said with a laugh. "Where has the year gone?"
"I don't know," Underwood said.
Merchants are receiving one last reminder to offer an incentive that could encourage visitors to plan at least a three-day weekend around the Festival.
Greg Patterson, who owns the Greg Patterson Photographic Studio and Gallery, told festival organizers he's conducing an Olde Towne Photo Walk the Friday before festival day.
"The photo walkers, they're going to be learning a little about photography along the way," Patterson said. "Some basics, but it should be fun and they'll have a professional to answer questions."
In exchange, Patterson received weeks of free advertising on various social media sites.
"We're doing the Blue Ska-Do, and that is leading into the week in and the weeks of the Texas Blueberry Festival to where you offer benefits like coupons," Handler said. "You can give discounts in your store. It's something special."
With each reminder, Handler can see merchants start putting their creative juices into motion.
"Well, one thing we're anticipating doing is having an activity that would involve children and art and blueberries," said Peggy Fare, the owner of Art Exchange.
"Are you thinking about any kind of specials or anything?" Handler asked.
"Oh yeah, we'll do something like that," Underwood said.
Decide soon. Festival events are June 9 and 10. That's exactly two weeks from today.
The Festival kicks off June 9th with the Blueberry Bluegrass Concert in the Park at 6 p.m.