Berry good festivities at festival

Pie-eating contestants race to finish their mini-pies during Saturday
Pie-eating contestants race to finish their mini-pies during Saturday's Loganberry Festival at Greenbank Farm.
— image credit: Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

For some, it’s really all about the pie.

Mary Murphy, 9, said that while she didn’t win the Loganberry Festival pie-eating contest Saturday afternoon she was still a winner.

“The award was a pie,” said Murphy, a first-time participant, who traveled from Kent to the event with her family. “Plus it’s fun digging your face into it.”

However, the family took home a champion as Mary Murphy’s sister, 6-year-old Claire, won the day’s chalk art contest.

The pie-eating and chalk art contest were a few of the many events, exhibitions and activities that were featured at this year’s Loganberry Festival at Greenbank Farm July 27-28. Four pie-eating contests total were held Saturday, two for children and two for adults.

The winner of the afternoon children’s contest, Jean Lund Olson, 11, of Greenbank, said it was his first time in any eating contest. He enjoyed the $1 prize he received and said the event was his favorite. The morning children’s contest was dominated again by Madden Gillespie, winner of that contest four years in row.

Faith Wilder, Greenbank Farm board chairwoman of events, said the pie-eating contest is usually limited to 12 participants.

However, on Saturday afternoon, due to a miscommunication with the volunteers, 27 people were allowed to participate, contributing to the competitiveness, havoc and fun of the event.

“It’s definitely the wildest one we’ve ever had,” Wilder said, laughing. “It’s become so popular, we’re just going to have to do more of them.”

Despite the chaos of the afternoon’s children’s pie-eating contest, Wilder said she is indebted to the active-duty Navy volunteers who helped both Saturday and Sunday.

“The fair would not happen without them,” she said.

Wilder said there were many new and different aspects to this year’s Loganberry Festival, an event she believes topped previous years in attendance.

Events included falcon demonstrations, a medieval promenade each afternoon and 4-H groups bringing animals for a petting zoo as well as dog agility contests. In addition to adding events, organizers also spread out the activities.

“There’s a different flow this year and we have lots of 4-H participation, which we love,” Wilder said. “The (falcon) raptors are hugely popular.”

Each year, the festival features a broad range of food, snacks and desserts — including the legendary Loganberry pie. Whidbey-brewed beer was provided by Flyer’s Restaurant and local wines were available for tasting.

Toward the end of Saturday’s events, attendees could wind down to the soulful rock and roll of PETE, fronted by Greenbank Hank, a local legend. The entire band claims to have been born and raised in Greenbank.

In that vein, all of the activities are particular to the farm and local to Whidbey. The artists, entertainers, farmers, food vendors, service organizations and volunteers, all produce their goods and services themselves.

Greenbank Farm is managed by a nonprofit, sustained by  the Port of Coupeville and a group of tenants and volunteers. The Loganberry Festival is the annual celebration to ensure the farm is remembered and its future is protected.

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