Blueberry Festival Brings Tourists

by Christa Lollis

The brick streets were packed for blocks with vendors and visitors. The crowd at this years blueberry festival was one of the biggest. "We knew this morning when we arrived here around 7, 6:30 to 7 there was already a small line forming to buy our berries," Henry Sunda with Mill Creek Farms said. Even with 12,000 pounds by noon they were completely sold out.

While the streets were packed with people it's something that's normal for the popular festival. Kim Luna Snyder with the chamber explained, "Last year we had about 13,000 people at the festival. Normally we range anywhere from 10 to 15 thousand." Those thousands of people aren't all from east Texas. In fact they aren't even all from this state. "We've talked to folks as far away as Florida, California and all throughout our state here and I think it's brought a lot of recognition to Nacogdoches and I think it's gonna continue to grow. It's absolutely amazing," Sunda said.

The growth each year is what keeps bringing more dollars into the city. "In the past we have been told the hotel occupancy is full. Restaurants benefit from it. Stores, shopping centers here in Nacogdoches they feel the effect of it here of course," Snyder explained. It's estimated that the tourists spend hundreds of thousands of dollars while they're in town for the festival and today only made vendors more excited about how busy it will be next year. Sunda says, "Next year we're gonna bring probably 8 tons or 16,000 pounds of berries with us. We're gonna be more prepared." That's a lot of blueberries but they're hoping they'll be a lot more customers.