About the Blueberry Festival
The Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival has been in existence since 1983. It is a ten-day festival celebrating Sioux Lookout and its unique and diverse culture. With over 100 events, the Blueberry Festival has become a grand summer celebration attracting thousands of visitors from throughout the region and around the world. Starting on the Friday before the August long weekend and lasting for ten fun-filled days, residents and visitors come together to form a bond of great communal spirit. Many of the events encompass the beauty of the area, allowing participants and spectators to enjoy the plentiful lakes and beaches. From the very young to the young at heart, and from the athletically inclined to the most sedate sport enthusiasts, there is truly something for everyone at the Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival.
The Annual Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival was initiated by the Chamber of Commerce in 1983. This was an idea from three executive members – Marnie Hoey, Dick Davidson and Allan Pizziol. Allan was the person who suggested that “Blueberry” be used as the theme because of the abundance of delicious blueberries that grow here in August.
The first festival was coordinated by four local students – Betty Lee, Christine Hoey, Jeff Donnelly, and Barbara Lockhart – with a budget of $10,000.00; $8,000.00 of this was wage subsides to cover the cost of the student staff. The event was co-chaired by Marnie Hoey and Allan Pizziol. The Festival was first launched with about fifty events and has grown to include approximately 130, ranging from the traditional to the unique. In 1983, the anchor event was the Chamber of Commerce Trade Show. Other major events included: Cedar Bay Riding Centre’s Real Country Hoedown, the Sioux Lookout Rotary Club’s Pancake Breakfast, Fastball Tournament and children’s activities at the Town Beach. The Festival’s mascot Blueberry Bert was born, who was designed by Sherry Glena, a summer student at the museum. The first Blueberry Pie contest was won by Ann Donnelly, and the Senior Blueberry King and Queen were George Sever and Nella Forrest.
The first organizers wanted to give Sioux Lookout a celebration of their community; a time to show off all that Sioux Lookout has to offer, share each other’s interests, and have a fun time with everyone able to participate. They wanted to put the town on the map and let everyone know how great the community of Sioux Lookout is and how well everyone can work together.
Over the years and with the support of many sponsors, the Blueberry Festival has continued to grow and provide many with so much. Even after 40 years, the Festival continues to add new events while retaining old favorites. It is well known around Northwestern Ontario and attracts visitors from around the world. It is considered homecoming week to past residents and past visitors of Sioux Lookout.
Throughout the winter months, the Blueberry Festival Committee tries to stay involved in the community. The Blueberry Festival Staff and Committee strive to participate in the Santa Claus Parade, Sioux Literacy Week, the Northern Bands Hockey Tournament, and the Little Bands Tournament. This allows the Blueberry Festival (and Blueberry Bert) to keep a presence in the community all year round.
Rubber Ducky Race at Town Beach- Year Unknown
Facepaint- Year Unknown
Parachute Fun at Town Beach- Year Unknown
Water Skiing at Town Beach- 1983
Canoe Races at Town Beach- Year Unknown
Marnie Hoey, Allan Pizziol, Frank Kent, Chris Pizziol- 1983
Blueberry Photo Booth- Year Unknown
If you have any older pictures of fun at the Blueberry Festival we would love to see them! Send anything you want to share to the information below.