Every year during Labor Day Weekend, one of the Midwest’s premier events returns with the Marshall County Blueberry Festival. Located at Centennial Park, 1660 N. Michigan St., Plymouth, Ind., this year’s festival takes place from Sept. 1-5 and promises a parade, fireworks, carnival, car show, hot air balloon rides and more.
“We have several can’t-miss activities here at the Marshall County Blueberry Festival,” says Tracy Houin, festival coordinator. “We have something for everyone of all ages, from a bike cruise to arm wrestling to tractor pulls to a wide range of entertainment. There’s not a slow or dull moment the whole weekend.”
Approximately 42 committees, 15 board members and hundreds of volunteers help put on the festival, Houin adds. Volunteers have been the backbone of the event since the beginning, when the Plymouth Jaycees organized a Labor Day Celebration in 1966 to observe Indiana’s sesquicentennial. The celebration was such a success that a group of citizens formed a board of directors to organize an annual festival.
At the time, Marshall County provided one third of Indiana’s blueberry crop, so, the board named the celebration “The Marshall County Blueberry Festival.” Now, 56 years later, the humble event has grown into one of Indiana’s largest festivals.
The board’s main objectives are to provide quality family activities at little or no cost, and to additionally provide a venue for many of Marshall County’s nonprofit organizations to raise funds, Houin adds. Many organizations are able to generate not just some, but all of their operating costs for the whole year thanks to festival profits.
Throughout the festival, Marshall County welcomes more than 300 craft vendors from across the country. Hundreds of booths are dedicated to food, and of course, blueberries are in abundance, with blueberry pie, ice cream, shakes, sundaes, donuts, cheesecake and just plain blueberries as some of the options.
Musical entertainment takes place on three stages all weekend long at no cost. There’s also a pageant, 5K/15K run, bicycle cruise, pony rides and more. The newest addition to the festival is a beer garden, Houin says. Upon arrival at the festival, be sure to pick up an event guide which contains a map of all the booths.
“You can truly find something for everyone at any age,” Houin reiterates.
Entrance to The Marshall County Blueberry Festival is free, with parking at Plymouth High School, 1 Big Red Dr., Plymouth, for $10 per car or $20 for a weekend pass. This includes shuttle service from the parking lot to the festival. Keep an eye on blueberryfestival.org/index.html for more information about the festival, including schedule updates. ❚