Arts and Entertainment

Behold the berry; Blackberries are celebrated in full force at the Bremerton Blackberry Festival | Kitsap Week

The Blackberry Festival is held Saturday through Monday on the boardwalk in Bremerton. - Courtesy Photo
The Blackberry Festival is held Saturday through Monday on the boardwalk in Bremerton.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The phrase "Blackberry Festival" may conjure up images of business people paying homage to their cell phone rather than an event celebrating the prolific fruit.

But for 22 years, long before the Blackberry phone was invented, Bremerton has celebrated blackberries at the annual Labor Day weekend event.

"Blackberries are so hard to get rid of, it's kind of a spoof," organizer Carol Atkinson said.

And while celebrating the difficult-to-remove blackberry plant might be a bit of a joke, festival-goers relish the different treats concocted from the berry.

Blackberry wines, pies, sodas and "slugs" are among the highlights of the festival. Atkinson said the "slugs" are something the Bremerton Lions Club creates. They are rich maple bar-like treats made with blackberry jam and topped with powdered sugar. And of course, their shape resembles a slug. According to the Bremerton Lions Club website, the slugs are "a treat folks come from far and wide to devour. Fans come from all over western Washington just to eat a blackberry slug."

Popular items at the festival include the "I got berried" clothing line. The clothes look as if they've been splattered with the dark purple berries—and if you've ever been blackberry picking, you know the dark berries stain easily.  This year the splattered-line includes raincoats, umbrellas, sweatshirts and more.

To give festival-goers a great deal of choice, a lot of time and effort goes into selecting the 130 vendors at the festival. Atkinson said they try not to have duplicate craft or food vendors on site.

"There's not five kettle corn booths, but just one," she said.

The musical entertainment is just as diverse as the vendors. With a different act each hour or so, the line-up offers a wide-range of styles. From swing to rock to polka and even a Beach Boys tribute band, Atkinson hopes attendees will find some music to get their toes tapping and their heads bobbing. While over at the children's stage, the younger crowd will be entertained with music and magic.

During the festival, Second Street will turn into a child's berry extravaganza. A giant purple slide, bounce houses, an obstacle course and pony rides will burn off the wee one's energy.

Due to our cold summer, this year the blackberries are ripening a bit late. But Atkinson isn't worried. After 22 years she's seen it all, from summers where the berries ripened too early, to summers like this one when the berries are late to the party.

But she knows this weekend on the boardwalk in Bremerton, the blackberries in all their splendor will be celebrated— even if some still have a hint of green.

Blackberry Festival Schedule

Sept. 3, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sept. 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sept. 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Park and ride from Olympic College at 16th and Warren Avenue to the festival. Cost $2 round trip. Bremerton, Port Orchard Ferry, Saturday regular schedule. Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. $2 each way.

Saturday Only

Berry Fun Run: Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Bremerton. Event includes 1-mile Fun Run, 5K and children’s dashes. Prices range from $10-$12. Info: (360) 473-5305.

Fly-In: Aircraft display and car show at the airport. Young Eagles flights for children ages 8-17 (see page 4 for more details).

Chalk Art: Noon-2 p.m. at the corner of Second Street and Washington Avenue. Pre-registration and $10 entry fee required. Info: (360) 473-5425.

Entertainment Schedule


10-11:30 a.m.: Navy Band “Passage”

12-12:30 p.m.: Touch Tank

1-1:30 p.m.: Carrie Kay

1-2:30 p.m.: 1928

3-4:30 p.m.: Green Brier Project

5-7 p.m.: The Pendletones


10-11:30 a.m.: Smilin’ Scandinavians

11:30-noon: Touch Tank

Noon-1:30 p.m.: Hook Me Up

2-3:30 p.m.: John “Scooch” Cugno

4-6 p.m.: Hillbilly Soul Strutters


11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Jug of Punch

1-2:30 p.m.: Independents

3-5 p.m.: Hillbilly Soul Strutters

Children’s Stage Schedule


11 a.m.: Magic of Kevin Wolfe

Noon:  Cowboy Buck &       Elizabeth

1 p.m.: Mr. Mario the Funny Man

2 p.m.: Magic of Kevin Wolfe

3 p.m.: Mr. Mario the Funny Man

4 p.m.: Cowboy Buck & Elizabeth

5 p.m.: Magic of Kevin Wolfe


Noon: Mr. Mario the Funny Man

1 p.m.: Cowboy Buck & Elizabeth

2 p.m.: Magic of Kevin Wolfe

3 p.m.: Mr. Mario the Funny Man

4 p.m.: Cowboy Buck & Elizabeth

5 p.m.: Magic of Kevin Wolfe


Noon : Magic of Kevin Wolfe

1 p.m.:  Cowboy Buck & Elizabeth

2 p.m.:  Mr. Mario the Funny Man

3 p.m.: Cowboy Buck & Elizabeth

4 p.m.: Magic of Kevin Wolfe

All staged entertainment is free of charge.







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