History of the Georgia Blueberry Festival
Commercially grown blueberries came to Bacon County in the early 1970’s when some of the local farmers, with the help of Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College and the University of Georgia Extension office, began experimenting with various blueberry varieties. Since that time, the number of farmers and the numbers of acres under cultivation increased substantially. Today blueberries are one of Georgia’s primary agricultural products and Bacon County continues to be the center of the Georgia blueberry crop.
To recognize the importance of blueberries to Bacon County and to show appreciation to the farmers and all of the other people involved in the industry, Bacon County began hosting the Georgia Blueberry Festival.
The first Blueberry Festival featured a parade, speakers from local and State Government, a beauty contest, a cooking contest, a motocross race, and a barbeque.
While the dates of the festival may have changed and the sponsor and organization may have changed (past festivals were conducted under the authority of The City of Alma, Bacon County, The Alma Bacon County Chamber of Commerce, The Lions Club, and The Exchange Club), the festival still remains an important part of the community.
Currently, The Georgia Blueberry Festival, Inc., an independent non-profit corporation, organizes and conducts the Blueberry Festival. Recent festivals featured parades, beauty contests, senior beauty contests, cooking contests, local entertainment, bands, rides and games for the children, and vendors from through out the area and neighboring States.
Beginning in 2002, The Georgia Blueberry Festival added a new element to the festivities. The festival takes place in the first weekend of June, which is soon after Memorial Day. The festival now incorporates recognition of our Veterans and those who have served our country. This patriotic theme is now an integral part of The Georgia Blueberry Festival. Also, for the last few years, the festival has included Civil War re-enactors who set up camps and enact a dame scene to give festival goers a glimpse of what life was like in the 1860’s.