Blueberry Bert turns 40 as Sioux Lookout celebrates the start of the Blueberry Festival this weekend

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SIOUX LOOKOUT -- The Blueberry Festival is back in Sioux Lookout this weekend for its 10-day run.

Dori Hopko, president of the board of directors for the festival, says she’s excited it is able to return in full with many in-person events.

“Through the course of the pandemic, we preserved as a committee and we still ran the Blueberry Festival for the 10 days. So this year, we are open full bore without the pandemic,” said Hopko. “We’re standing at about 100 events that have been registered.”

One of those events is a celebration of the 40th birthday of Blueberry Bert, the festival's iconic mascot, taking place on Saturday.

“We’re so pleased to be able to celebrate [his birthday],” She said.

A lot of people time their vacations to come back to Sioux Lookout during the 10-day festival said Hopko. “They’re basing it around family reunions, weddings, high school reunions, just gatherings together,” she said. “It’s a great time to socialize and meet and greet people that you haven’t seen in a long time.”

Hopko said the event was started in 1983 as a driver for tourism to the area. “In the course of 10 days, in a normal year, there are easily 10,000 people through. So that’s pretty impressive for a community of only 5,000,” she said.

The festival will come to close with a Laughing Loggers and Timber Tots show brought in from B.C. said Hopko.

For a list of other events, visit the festival website.

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source

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