WILTON — The Select Board during its Tuesday, Aug. 16, meeting reviewed the successes and areas of improvement at the 2022 Wilton Blueberry Festival.

Town Manager Perry Ellsworth told the board he met with the Wilton Events Committee and Ambition Brewing owner Jeff Chaisson earlier in the day to discuss the festival held Aug. 5-7.

“Overall, we think it went pretty well,” said Ellsworth, who was overseeing his first meeting since the departure of former Town Manager Rhonda Irish.

Ellsworth said people especially enjoyed the street dance held Friday night, Aug. 5, and were hoping to see more events throughout the weekend.

However, Ellsworth said the committee, townspeople and other attendees had feedback on ways the Wilton Blueberry Festival could improve in future years.

“Coming away from the COVID [pandemic], [the committee] felt that it was a good crowd but not like the crowd that it used to be,” Ellsworth said.


Areas of feedback from attendees were a desire for more blueberry-themed items for sale, a fireman’s muster and less gaps in the parade.

“People said you had a blueberry festival but they can’t buy a blueberry pie, blueberry muffins, cake,” Ellsworth said.

Select Board Chair David Leavitt said he also heard that feedback while judging the parade Saturday, Aug. 6.

“The only blueberry stuff around was in the contest,” Selectperson Mike Wells added.

Ellsworth said the committee heard people wanted the fireman’s muster to return to the festival.

In a fireman’s muster fire departments compete against each other in timed events simulating common firefighting activities. Trophies are typically awarded for placing in individual events as well as overall score rankings. The events are fun to watch and suspenseful as the public urges their local firemen to do their best.


The committee will need to think about logistics, how to fit vendors and the muster in downtown all at once, Ellsworth said.

There were additionally complaints about gaps in the parade when it came to a halt, he said. There were various reasons for the pauses, including the Shriner’s race around and politicians coming to a stop to shake hands with attendees while marching in the parade, Ellsworth explained. That’s something to think about for next year, he added.

Ultimately, Ellsworth said the town needs to focus on building a stronger committee earlier in the year. With a committee of only four, not all of whom were active, making sure the parade ran smoothly fell to Events Coordinator Renee Woodard and her family, he said.

Woodard and her family “ran around crazy trying to get everything done,” he said.

“I think we need to build a committee that understands what they’re getting into before we go out to try to find people,” Ellsworth explained. “I’d like to do that, get it done no later than October and start meeting earlier.”

“[The Blueberry Festival] is another way to really sell the town too,” Ellsworth said. “This is the start to growth here; the more people we can get into town, the more interest we’re going to have.”


On the topic of the Blueberry Festival, Selectperson Mike Wells proposed the town issue a resolution to recognize former Wilton Blueberry Festival Corporation Chair Shannon Smith for her three decades plus of work.

Smith should be “adopted as a symbol” for running the blueberry festival for more than 30 years, Wells said.

He additionally would like to dedicate a plaque to Smith.

“It’s the volunteers that make it happen and that’s one standout volunteer for the last 38 years,” Wells said.

Ellsworth said he’d draft resolutions to have at the next board meeting.

In other business, the town approved a liquor license renewal for Meadow Lanes Bowling Alley on Route 2.

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