Matthew Hunter

Celebrate the blues in Cloverdale this weekend

10th annual blueberry festival offers free family fun for everyone.

It’s the most delicious, laid-back, down-to-earth community celebration of the year, and it’s all happening in Cloverdale this Saturday, when the annual homage to the tasty and nutritious blueberry takes centre stage in the historic town centre.

There will be a little something for everyone at the 10th annual Cloverdale Blueberry Festival, the ultimate community event, blending an old-fashioned Show ’n Shine for cars, trucks , and motorcycles, along with live, retro music, plus blueberry pie-eating contests, homemade blueberry pie sales, and blueberry pancake breakfasts, along with free trolly rides, vendor markets and an arts festival.

“We have everything that moves and has wheels,” says organizer, Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association.

The festival celebrates the abundance of locally grown berries with food and festivities, all while capitalizing on a bounty of local events, including the Surrey Show ’n Shine, a classic car show featuring everything from custom outfitted hot-rods to Model As, and everything in between.

That’s not to diminish the role of the mighty blueberry, a fruit that’s pushed Surrey into third place in B.C. in terms of annual blueberry production. Pound-wise, blueberries outnumber all other berries grown in the province combined, Orazietti adds.

“There’s been a shift in a lot of the agriculture, away from the more traditional green lettuce and tomatoes. Now you see the blueberry taking over. That’s really the whole idea behind the event.”

For organizers, there’s also a growing recognition of Cloverdale’s – and Surrey’s – proud heritage, particularly when it comes to being a transportation hub.

“This is part of the amazing thing I’ve noticed with this community,” says Orazietti. “The past really does live here. It’s really amazing, the passion people have put towards saving history.”

There’s an arts component as well. The Arts Council of Surrey is sponsoring the ninth-annual Blueberry Arts Festival. Various artists and crafters will be showcasing and selling their work in Surrey Museum Plaza (176A Avenue and Highway 10), along with live entertainment at the museum stage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s more than just cars and the automobile displays,” Orazietti says, pausing to reflect that muscle cars, vintage trucks, antique autos, and lovingly restored classics, from hot rods to motorcycles, will be at176 and 176A Streets between 58 Avenue and Highway 10, along with activities at Brick Yard Station and Clover Square Village, and other spots.

The Surrey Re-enactors, professional actors, will be breathing life into some of our city’s most colourful pioneer personalities, from Reeve R.J. Sullivan (1910-1921) to school teacher Mary Jane Shannon.

The folks at the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society will be welcoming visitors to Cloverdale Station at the foot of 176A Street and Highway 10 for a ride on the newly launched Interurban electric rail passenger service, a heritage rail project operating on weekends until Thanksgiving.

Or wander over to Cloverdale’s other new heritage transportation attraction, the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum, located on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, in the old Surrey Museum, the northeast corner of 60 Avenue and 176 Street. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Speaking of paying tribute to the past, Elvis impersonator Steve Elliot will be bringing his one-of-a-kind tribute to the King of Rock and Roll to downtown Cloverdale, where he’s headlining one of the three live entertainment stages set up around the historic town centre.

“It evolves,” says Orazietti, explaining how merchants in the year-old Brick Yard Station shopping plaza have climbed on board, acting as a nerve centre for the Race Car Zone, along with longtime Cloverdalians like Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6, hosting a display of military equipment as part of the day’s festivities – not to mention where it all began, Clover Square Village, site of the irrepressible pie-eating contest, Kids Zone, Cinemazoo animal displays, BMX stunt displays and more. For more on the festivities, visit cloverdalebia.com

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