Ketchikan: Blueberry feted

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2002

Hundreds gathered on Main Street in Ketchikan a week ago Saturday in celebration of the blueberry.

Nearly 100 booths - offering everything from lifelike wax replicas of ice cream sundaes to temporary tattoos - filled the State Office Building garage.

The Blueberry Arts Festival also marked three days of serious competition.

The day's fastest slug was trained by Lewis Owen and the fattest slug, named Team E, was trained by Alec Pankow. The Fun Run racers themselves were fast the morning of Aug. 3, but could not compete with the crowd-pleasing gastronomic excitement of the pie-eating contest.

The annual blueberry pie-eating contest is not based on who can eat the most pie; rather, it's a speed event: The pie-eater to finish first wins.

For blueberry decathletes who wanted two days of competition, the 11th Annual Richard Brautigan and Dick Whittaker Trout Fishing in America Poetry Reading and Odious Ode Contest was held last Sunday afternoon.

Brautigan, writer of the 1960s book of verse "Trout Fishing in America," visited Ketchikan in the early '80s, and, until this year, his was the only name in the event's title. Local attorney Richard Whittaker, an enthusiastic participant in the contest, died in September, and organizers decided to add his name to the event.

This is the Blueberry Arts Festival's 27th year. The festival spanned three days and included performances of the Gigglefeet Dance Festival Friday and Sunday night.

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