Montrose Holds 40th Annual Blueberry Festival

MONTROSE, Pa. -- It has become a time-honored tradition in Montrose -- the annual Blueberry Festival.

But the way it began is somewhat unconventional.

Back in 1980, it was just a couple of books and muffins being sold as a fundraiser for the Susquehanna Historical Society and Free Library Association. Then they decided to expand the event.

"What comes ripe in Susquehanna County during early August? Blueberries! So the Blueberry Festival was born," said Sue Stone, of the Susquehanna Historical Society and Free Library Association.

The Blueberry Festival became so important to the borough, it brought many back to visit the community and drew them in as volunteers when they returned for good.

"Before we moved here, this was always the thing we came home for, so my kids knew in August that this was what Montrose was," said Beth Vaccaro, who serves on the Blueberry Festival's executive committee.

Vaccaro's husband is from Montrose, and this was something they looked forward to each summer.

"For me, this is what I think of when I think of Montrose and small-town living," explained Vaccaro.

What started as a small fundraiser has now grown into a multi-thousand-dollar event, and it's the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Susquehanna Historical Society and Free Library Association.

"It helps keep the lights on. We could not do a lot of the programs that we do every single day for everybody in the community without the Blueberry Festival," said Vaccaro.

The Free Library Association provides programs throughout Susquehanna County at multiple branches, as well as at nursery schools and the county prison via their mobile library.

For many, the festival is a way to give back and support the library.

Harold Gary is 98 years old and used to pick blueberries for the festival. Now he just to enjoy and support the library.

"The library is an important thing and it benefits the library. And if it benefits the library, then it benefits everybody else," said Gary of Montrose.

The festival includes a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. each day, baked goods, ice cream, a book sale, and more. The Blueberry Festival runs through Saturday at 4 p.m. on the green in the center of Montrose.

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