Blueberry Festival could leave Plymouth

The Vatican will stay in Rome, the White House will remain in Washington, D.C. but the Blueberry Festival may be moving out of Plymouth.

“And we really don’t want to leave Plymouth but if we do leave, if it does happen to happen, we will stay somewhere in Marshall County,” said Blueberry Festival Board President Dave Caldwell.

After 48 years of doing business at Centennial Park in Plymouth, festival officials are at least considering the possibility of moving elsewhere. Some have even taken a field trip to view a possible replacement site in Argos.

“Don’t read too much into it, it’s just all research basically it’s us, research for the future, that’s all,” Caldwell told NewsCenter 16.

No doubt the Blueberry Festival has some pretty deep roots in Plymouth. It has a home office that is open year round where a full time director and countless volunteers work till they’re blue in the face to make one of the best festivals in the state—even better.

“The future of the festival in Plymouth, I mean, we want to stay here in Plymouth, just we have a long range people to look at options. We’re growing constantly and we’re just looking for more land if we need more land,” said Caldwell.

Next year, festival officials fear they’ll have less land to work with at Centennial Park thanks to a project to replace the tennis courts.

“They're kind of taking the old soccer places where we put, where we have our fireworks, and they're giving us the other part which is flood plain,” said Caldwell.

The situation caught Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter off guard. “The unfortunate thing, a year ago, this was all okay with the Blueberry Festival Committee. Everything was good, everything was cool and all the sudden now, it’s not.”

All of the sudden, Plymouth is being publicly pitted against Argos and the mayor finds himself between a rock and a hard place.

“It’s a city park 361 days out of the year and it’s a festival’s park for four days, or if you want to count setup week, a whole week, and I just don’t want to be in that position where, I don’t want to be held hostage,” said Mayor Senter.

On August 11th, the Plymouth Common Council will be asked to move forward on the tennis court project, now knowing the potential impact it could have on the future of the festival.

“We want to be in Plymouth because we have a nice park, a really nice park, but you know, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do,” said Caldwell.

The 2014 version of the Blueberry Festival will definitely be held in Plymouth starting August 29th, although the contract with the park department expires at the end of this year.

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