Jul 28, 2014

The Other Patch

Since I moved here I’ve been asked several times, “Have you been to the Blueberry Patch?” This weekend, I finally went and I had an experience I’ll never forget.

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When I heard about the Humdinger Music and Arts Festival, I figured it would be a perfect time to experience the Blueberry Patch, 4923 20th Ave S. Gulfport. So, last night Robert and I headed over to the Patch around 7:30 p.m. Although not knowing what to expect, I was intrigued about what I had heard about it so far. Some in town said it was a laid back place to just hang out. I’ve heard that some people bring their entire family to listen to the live music. Others have said it’s an avenue to express art and the love of art.

Robert and I parked and headed in. The music festival called for a $10 donation per person. We paid, got our wristbands and headed in. At that point, I felt as though I was walking into a local art festival or show at an outdoor park or boardwalk. But that was where I was wrong!

I walked into a storybook, a fairy tale, a wonderland . . .  here in Gulfport. We had arrived as the sun began to set and the glimpse of light danced across the décor, trees and crowd. Trees, at least 30 feet high, were decorated with painted signs, holiday ornaments and even different colored handprints. There were a couple “booths” to buy a soda, cookie or dinner meal. One was called the Peace Café. There were two stages for local bands. The larger stage featured Free Range Roosters. They performed for a packed crowd and lured people to the sand dance floor with great vocals and jamming rhythms. Right next to the stage area, there were several recycle bins for aluminum, glass and other recyclables. Of course there were plenty of hand painted signs pointing people to the recycle bins and encouraging us to reduce, re-use and recycle. Many patrons brought coolers and lunch boxes filled with food and drinks.

The shock factor was really the décor of the Blueberry Patch. “One-of-a-kind” is an understatement. I saw several Peace Signs in different forms, painted chairs and even a Santa Clause figure. Flags were hung from a few trees. Christmas lights and rope lights provided light once the sun went down.

After Robert and I found a log bench to sit on, we tapped our feet and danced a little. The entertainment was great, the people friendly and the atmosphere welcoming. We walked around a bit and noticed different kinds of artwork for sale. One table featured painted portraits by Danielle Shockley. There were also wooden tables, paddles and other decorations scattered among displays; all for sale. Overall, I felt the experience was, to say the least, “one-of-a-kind” and more importantly memorable. After listening to music, touring the area and admiring the art, Robert and I decided to call it quits for the night. We left with a feeling of time well spent, money well spent and the hope of coming back again.

For more information about other events at the Blueberry Patch check out their website. People are welcome to come to their events four times a month for $5 at the door and/or volunteer on Saturdays.

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