The Whitesbog Community
A Thank you Whitesbog...for being there! - Brian Rauch
My Whitesbog Blueberry Festival Memories -by Sharon Goodman
My parents had both grown up at Whitesbog in the 1920 – 1943 years. They never lost touch with what was happening there. She discovered – in the 1980’s that Whitesbog Preservation Trust had been developed to restore and protect Whitesbog. She immediately joined and donated. When the first Blueberry Festival set up after she joined, she and my father planned to come – and they invited me. After hearing their stories at the dinner table growing up I absolutely wanted to go with them.
I am pretty certain it was one of the first festivals in the 1980’s just from what was planned for the day and the size of it. They had races – as I recall both foot races and bike races. They had a few vendors – both goods (jewelry and hair items –some of both with a Native American connection) and food (I remember having a sausage and pepper’s sandwich, and probably a coke)– possibly a total of 15 in all. It was drizzling rain off and on (like that never happens now). The whole line-up of vendors was in front of the Workers Cottages. The attendance was minimal – probably related to the rain and that it was a new festival. I remember no music, no tours – even from my parents.
The next time I came with just my Dad around 2000. It was much more like the festivals of recent time. Basically my Dad gave me a tour of his time there. Where he worked and what he did there –making boxes for harvest and a clerk in the General Store for two; my Mother’s bedroom window; etc. He even gave me a ride through the farm and a back way out. Meanwhile, the festival was all around us. I remember there were many vendors, many performers. Buildings were open for visiting and history was shared.
In 2008 I began to volunteer, participating in my first Blueberry Festival in 2009 setting up the vendors and assisting them during the festival. I have assisted at the festival every year since then – but since the 2016 festival I have focused more on the history of Whitesbog. 2020 presents a new challenge and a new kind of festival. Enjoy and we’ll see what see what else the future brings the festivals.
From Sharon Goodman, Volunteer and Descendant of Whitesbog Workers, June 22, 2020
Living in Whitesbog by Jennifer Knorr
When I called to see if any of the homes were available I did not expect, John, to say yes. I had no idea that I would be moving somewhere that I love as much as I do. I can walk outside my front door and walk into nature. It’s incredible. I have so many favorite things I’ll stick to saying what I love. I love the changing of the seasons. Whitesbog is so different from season to season. I moved in during summertime so I got to see and eat the blueberries. The smells of summertime are my favorite. I love the honeysuckles, and flowers, and cedar swamp smells. In the fall you’ll learn that the smaller trails are covered in spider webs so bring a stick! The colors of the trees in the fall are beautiful. The best part though is the cranberry harvest. It’s so cool to see. The winter brings in the tundra swans. The blueberry plants become this vibrant red color. It is so incredibly quiet in the winter too. It might be my favorite season. So the spring sounds are of peepers and whippoorwills and it’s not quiet at all in the spring. I love that the activities are starting up and occuring more often in the spring and more people come out.
The people I’ve met out here inspire me. The volunteers and residents are so kind and helpful. I couldn’t have imagined what this place would mean to me when I moved here. The house is pretty cool too! Built in 1910, it is called the two story cottage. It’s got 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. There are beautiful builtins in the kitchen and dining room. The living room has a door with shelves that sort of hides a big closet. The front porch is my favorite spot of the house. My mom and I can be found out there playing scrabble and drinking iced tea pretty often. Now there are some things that occur with old houses, like always needing some sort of maintenance, buggies like stink bugs and ladybugs visit often, and the occasional bat. I cannot forget the sand. There is so much sand. It gets everywhere, especially with a dog running around in here. Those minor inconveniences do not outweigh the benefits of living in Whitesbog. Nature is good for the soul. Walking out here always cures a bad day. I’m not exaggerating. You should try it.
Sarah Augustine and Family
For the past two years, my family and I have sold blueberries for the Whitesbog Village Blueberry Festival on the front lawn of the General Store. From where we are situated, my parents, grandparents, and I are located at one of the first places people come when they arrive in the Village. One of our favorite parts of the festival is being able to greet people and provide an edible part of Whitesbog that they can take home with them. We love learning where people are from and what they plan on making with the berries!
My family and I love spending time together. Working at the blueberry sale tent is just another way for us to do something as a family while being apart of something amazing.
Without blueberries, there would be no Blueberry Festival! To taste a blueberry is to taste history. Just because things look different this year, it doesn’t mean that we have to forgo some of the traditions that make this festival so unique and meaningful.
We will be getting a flat of blueberries this year to freeze and make jams, breads, pancakes, and anything else we can think of. I hope you and your family will also take part in this tradition!
Oral History Coordinator
Whitesbog Preservation Trust