Bostwick Blueberry Festival

125 Tillman Street
Bostwick, FL 32007

History

In October of 1991, a small group of Bostwick citizens met in the old schoolhouse to form what they would call "a social club". They wanted a gathering place to hold community functions such as barbecues, covered dish meals, teen dances, children's carnivals, etc. With the support of Putman County, the club was allowed use of the old school to hold all functions and meetings.  One of the first projects of the club was to redecorate the old cafeteria and raise money for a new floor. A lot of hard work went into painting and making curtains, but the results were worth it. As the club increased in members from 1992 to 1997, the members decided to make a more service-oriented role to help improve the quality of life in the Bostwick area. Support for a Boy Scout Troop was provided and meetings were held in one of the old classrooms. A small library was started and, in 1997, the very first Bostwick Blueberry Festival was held.

Bostwick Community Library - Founder, Naomi Wilkinson

IN 1995, Naomi moved her boxes of book from her home and car to the Community Center where members immediately adopted this as their next big project. Members painted bookshelves, laid old carpet donated from a downtown business, and volunteers set up the Bostwick Community Library. In September 1999, after much hard work the " Old Bostwick Schoolhouse" was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now, 24 years later, it is an official branch of the Putman County Library System. "One great lady-One great idea-One great accomplishment."

Bostwick Blueberry Festival - Founders Vera Daniel and Marilyn Downs (deceased)

In 1995, these two ladies visited the Melrose Grape Festival, thus inspiring them to start a Blueberry Festival since Mrs. Daniel owned a blueberry farm. They saw this as a good way to raise funds for the community center. Having no seed money, Clyde Gilisson, a local resident, loaned the club the funds to hold the first festival in 1997. The story goes that they had a "tornado" the first year and still made enough money to pay Mr. Glisson back! This is just one of the reasons it is great to live in a small community. Approximately 1,000 people attended the first festival and over 300 plates of the now famous Bostwick Blueberry Pancakes were served.

In 2003, a fire totally destroyed the center, but not our spirit; the volunteers rallied around and still held the festival. The Bostwick Baptist Church offered the use of the Fellowship Hall in order to continue with the breakfast. Now it is in its 22nd year, the festival has an attendance of approximately 8,000. We serve over 1,200 pancake breakfast. About 100 vendors and can not keep up with the demand for fresh blueberries and homemade blueberry pie requests.

In 2002, the name was changed from Bostwick Community Action, Inc. to Bostwick Community Association, Inc. Over the past 24 years, a few of the accomplishments of the association have been to fund scholarships for area students along with some matching funds from Sykes, Inc. and Lafarge; donations have been made to local charities and service organizations; donated funds to purchase books for the library before it became part of the County Library System; and purchased griddles, warmers and other kitchen equipment in order to hold the blueberry festival.

January 2005, Putnam County began construction of a new Bostwick Community Youth / Senior Center, and it was completed in February 2006. The Bostwick Community Association meets the second Monday of each month at 6:00 PM for a covered dish dinner, followed by the meeting at 7:00 PM in the new Center.

The Bostwick Community Association - a way to give back to our community. We take this opportunity to thank everyone for all of the cooperative support and especially the many volunteers. You are all greatly appreciated. We couldn't have made 22 years without you all.

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