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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Festival celebrates blackberry history

  • The McLoud Blackberry Festival, a family-friendly celebration, commences Independence Day.
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  • The McLoud Blackberry Festival, a family-friendly celebration, commences Independence Day.
    The July 4-5 event will take place in McLoud’s Veteran’s Park, at the corner of Sixth and Park, and feature both food and non-food related activities.
    Jackie Schmidlkofer, McLoud Chamber of Commerce secretary, said the festival has been a community tradition for more than 60 years.
    “McLoud used to be the blackberry capital of the world,” she said. “There are still wild berries that grow around.”
    Friday’s activities begin at 10 a.m. Armband Night, an evening in which festival goers can purchase a $20 armband to partake in carnival entertainment, starts at 7 p.m.
    Saturday’s festivities, accessible 8 a.m. to midnight, promise to match Friday’s liveliness. In addition to a pageant royalty coronation and the selling of all things blackberries, including jam and ice cream, the day features activities catering to a range of ages.
    “They have all kinds of children games, a 10 a.m. parade, turtle races, a cobbler eating contest and a poker run,” Schmidlkofer detailed.
    Registration for the poker run is at 8 a.m. Donna Wynn, McLoud Chamber of Commerce treasurer, said the game is sponsored by and supports the McLoud Fraternal Order of Firefighters.
    “Motorcycles ride from one location to another to get a card from a deck of cards,” Wynn explained. “There are stops in Arcadia, Sparks, Shawnee and McLoud.”
    The festival will wind down with live music and a 10 p.m. fireworks show. A complete schedule is available at www.mcloudchamber.com.

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