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Blueberries abound in Lake George

Isabella Jacobson, 2, of Walker, enjoys blueberry flavored saltwater taffy. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 7
Emma Gavin, 16 months, of Minneapolis, isn’t too keen on getting a llama smooch, even though there was no charge. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 7
Aubree Katzenmeyer, 4, of Laporte, was the lucky winner of a bike. She chose one that matched her hot pink shoes. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)3 / 7
Jessica Studanski, 3, of Sauk Rapids, wore her blueberries to the festival. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)4 / 7
Landon Studanski, 1, can wait for another handful of blueberry nachos. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)5 / 7
The serving line for firefighters' blueberry pancakes was very long. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)6 / 7
Myke Heffner of St. Michael found a dress at the flea market - blue, of course. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)7 / 7

By Sarah Smith

Mark 2013 down on your calendar as the year blueberry nachos made their debut in Lake George.

The deep-fried chips with a hint of cinnamon/sugar sprinkled over them, then topped with blueberries and whipped cream or ice cream, was an instant decadent treat at the 30th annual Blueberry Festival in Lake George.

The three -day festival may have had record attendance, although nobody’s quite sure who’s in charge of traffic counts.

Throngs of visitors lined up for the firefighters’ bean feed (50+ annual; it pre-dates the festival) and blueberry pancake feed Saturday and Sunday.

The grand parade stopped traffic on U.S. Highway 71. Literally.

From dawn to dusk, Lake George hosted a celebration to a bumper crop of blueberries that the bears didn’t get to before the humans did, three days running.

But as usual, blueberry pies were harder to find than Waldo.

The seniors’ annual pie sale Saturday morning, as usual, saw dozens of hand-baked pies disappear in minutes.

The children’s carnival saw 41 bicycles awarded to lucky winners, a record number, said organizer Deb Manz.

“People just keep bringing them in,” Manz said two hours before the drawing. Parents of previous winners have vowed to donate bikes just so the tradition can continue because their children were so thrilled to win.

Most folks were satisfied with the blueberry nachos, especially if they didn’t get a slice of pie. And a nacho by any other name – some had dubbed them blueberry quesadillas – still tasted luscious and stained the fingers and the outfits they dribbled onto.

A new attraction this year was Ken Kalish’s rescue llamas, penned up outside The Wigwam.

The Hubbard County man was offering free smooches from the animals, but not everyone was jumping at the offer.

Baby Emma Gavin recoiled in horror when Lilania and baby Lorenzo moved in for a wet kiss.

Rosemary Mills said not all of the blueberry crop had ripened for picking. Fields further south near Park Rapids had not ripened yet while the Lake George woods were ripe for the picking, she said.

“I used a frozen-fresh combo,” the purveyor of the plum-colored jellies said.

And just when the region has consumed all the blueberries, locals say the blackberry crop is now ripening.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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