WILTON — For the past 30 years, organizers of the Wilton Blueberry Festival have found new events to add to the two-day event, keeping it packed with a variety of activities, entertainment and fun.

The 31st annual festival, slated for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 3, will keep up the tradition.

This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Lt. Col. Michael Backus, a Wilton native, who died earlier this year. Backus was active in many youth sport programs and community events.

The theme for the festival this year is “A little bit of country — goes a long way!”

A new, juried art show is planned along with a free concert by Mama’s Wranglers from Las Vegas, an added 5K road race and the L.L. Bean boot will be in Saturday’s parade and on display, Shannon Smith, festival director, said.

Local artist and art educator at Plymouth College Kathy Smith has developed the art show taking place in the Bass-Wilson building. The art display is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.


Along with the traditional Kids 1-mile race starting at Kineowatha Park and the 10K race starting at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Friday night, a 5K has been added this year. The races are being held in memory of Dr. William Yates, who started the races years ago, Smith said. Several of Yates’ family members will return to Wilton for the races.

A musical group from Las Vegas, Mama’s Wranglers, will bring a little country to Wilton with a free performance Friday at Academy Hill School. The evening begins with a flag-folding ceremony by members of the local Emblem Club at 7 p.m. followed by the Jackson Family band and Cloggers at 7:15 p.m.

Saturday begins early with the Wilton Lion Club’s annual blueberry pancake breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. 

The festival parade begins at 9 a.m. with more than 100 entries expected. 

The day ends with a fireworks display at dusk near the boat launch of Wilson Lake. Rain date is August 5.

Those are just some of the highlights of this year’s festival.


The two days are packed with traditional food, craft, entertainment and sale events. A complete listing is available at the festival website, www.wiltonbbf.com.

Another new event, although not organized by the blueberry festival, is an ecumenical service Sunday at 9:30 a.m., offered by the Wilton Congregational Church.

The church started an annual blueberry event, a blueberry bazaar, as a fundraiser. Smith developed the event into the current two-day festival that brings tourists, former residents, organizations and politicians to Wilton each year for the first weekend of August.

While this year’s festival is happening now, Smith has already started planning for next year’s festival. The theme for the 32nd Wilton Blueberry Festival will be promoting health, she said.

Smith said she has already signed a contract to bring medical inflatables here from Houston, Texas. The inflatables are interactive medical exhibits that provide large-scale, educational models of human anatomy.

Mama’s Wranglers will perform a free concert at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at Academy Hill School as part of the Wilton Blueberry Festival entertainment. The show begins with a flag-folding ceremony by the Emblem Club at 7 p.m.

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