Stilt walker Mike Weakley high fives a child at the Wild Blackberry Festival.

JASPER — From the weather to the turnout — both in vendors and festivalgoers — to the sales by those vendors, the ninth annual Wild Blackberry Festival was better than ever.

“I think it went very well,” organizer Cindy Eatmon said. “I think it was the best we’ve had yet.”

While the rain forecast for the weekend held off until after the festival ended at Jasper City Park, the clouds and breeze that did attend the festival were welcomed, Eatmon said, adding it wasn’t “miserably hot.”

And while the threat of bad weather did keep a few vendors away, according to Eatmon, there were 59 vendors registered for the event, a significant increase over previous years.

Eatmon said while a number were familiar vendors that have attended since the festival began, with the increase there was also a number of new vendors and a nice variety of products and goods on hand.

Among the new products featured at the festival was hand-churned blackberry ice cream.

“It was a hit,” Eatmon added. “I was super pleased.”

It wasn’t the only popular blackberry item at the Wild Blackberry Festival. Eamon said the Old County Jail Museum Committee, which hosts the festival, sold out of fresh blackberries for the first time. She added several booths selling blackberry jams and jellies also sold out.

“We’ve always had several flats left that we put up for next year’s cobblers,” she said, adding someone from New York, New York, even visited the festival. “Now a lot of people were disappointed toward the end of the day that they didn’t get their fresh blackberries.

“The vendors were giving me thumbs up.”

With the good turnout, good weather and good response, Eatmon said plans have already begun for next year’s festival, which will be special as the 10th annual event.

“We’ve had good festivals and bad festivals over the years as far as sales, but this was a good one,” she added.

“Looking forward to next year. Ten years next year so we’re going to try and make it a bigger bang, hoping it’ll be a really nice festival next year.”

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