Loganberry Festival canceled due to event conflicts

The fate of one of Whidbey Island’s long-standing festivals is up in the air. Whidbey Island Area Fair’s move to the end of July now conflicts with Greenbank Farm’s annual Loganberry Festival. The date change prompted Greenbank Farm and Port of Coupeville officials to cancel this year’s festival.

Loganberry Festival attendees participate in the annual pie eating contest at the 2013 event.

Loganberry Festival attendees participate in the annual pie eating contest at the 2013 event.

The fate of one of Whidbey Island’s long-standing festivals is up in the air.

Whidbey Island Area Fair’s move to the end of July now conflicts with Greenbank Farm’s annual Loganberry Festival.

The date change prompted Greenbank Farm and Port of Coupeville officials to cancel this year’s festival.

“We’ve suspended Loganberry because the world has changed around us,” said Greenbank Farm Executive Director Judy Feldman. “We’re simply responding to a change. This is a sad day for us.”

The conflicts from the fair’s date change were various, Feldman said. It wasn’t one exact thing that caused the cancellation.

A big factor was both events showcased 4-H groups; the members would have to choose between events.

Other considerations were vendors, sponsors and volunteer time.

“This will be a chance for us to find out how important the festival is to people,” Feldman said. “When a significant event moves, it has a ripple effect.”

Before making the decision to suspend the event, Feldman said farm and port officials looked at every possibility, including moving the date, but could not find one that would work.

“It was a carefully considered decision,” she said.

Greenbank Farm is run by a management group, and the contract for that group is coming up next year.

Feldman said while the festival is suspended this year, she’s not sure of its future  because she doesn’t know if the same management group will still be operating the farm.

“We can’t really make bold promises without knowing the future,” she said. It depends on who’s managing the farm next year, she added.

Coupeville Chamber Director Lynda Eccles, who serves on Island County’s tourism board, said she was sad to hear the festival was cancelled this year.

“It’s no easy decision to make,” she said. “It could not be an easy decision for them.”

While the impacts of the festival’s cancellation on tourism is unclear, Eccles said the community will likely be more affected.

“Anytime you lose an event that’s part of a tradition for years and years, that’s sad,” she said. “There will be some disappointed people. It’s always been a popular event.”

“It’s part of Central Whidbey tradition.”

That said, Eccles said there are a lot of events throughout the summer and the people who come to the island will still visit Greenbank Farm.

“It’s a huge draw,” she said.

The Loganberry Festival was started by Chateau Ste. Michelle prior to Port of Coupeville’s purchase of the farm in 1997.

Greenbank Farm was established as a dairy farm in 1904 and the first loganberries were planted in 1943. At one time the farm was the largest loganberry farm in the United States.

It’s not a major fundraiser, but gives the opportunity to gather the community together and celebrate the farm, Feldman said.

The management group is working with tenants at the farm to discuss ideas for other ways to bring the community together and celebrate the farm.

Several ideas are in discussion, but Feldman said the farm isn’t ready to release them.

 

More in News

Oak Harbor man charged for brandishing pellet gun

The 21-year-old man is facing a felony charge.

Employment picture returning to normal in county

Island County unemployment is slowing returning closer to normal as pandemic restrictions ease.

Report: Tax funded 6.6 miles of road work

There are more street improvement projects on the way.

Wright’s Crossing loses 5th appeal

Wright’s Crossing’s proposed housing development south of Oak Harbor lost was blocked again.

Photo by Christina Whiting
Peter Smith-Case of Case Farm sells some veggies to some interested buyers at the opening Saturday of the Coupeville Farmers Market this past weekend.
Island’s farmers market season gets underway

The Coupeville Farmers Market opened last weekend and more markets are coming up.

Whidbey man shot to death in Whatcom County

Bellingham woman was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murder.

Fire department holding commissioner elections

South Whidbey Fire/EMS seeks a new fire commissioner to fill Position 3,… Continue reading

Andy Mendoza, left, and Brandon Ezell both graduated from the Island County Drug Court program on April 8. (Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times)
Reunited with their families, two men graduate Drug Court

Mendoza, 32, and Brandon Ezell, 33, both graduated from Island County Superior Court’s adult Drug Court on April 8.

OH moving forward with 75-acre park plans

Concept designs for the park featured six soccer fields, two multi-purpose fields, four Little League fields, four softball fields, one baseball field and a building with restrooms or concessions.

Most Read