On October 8th the Galiano Club’s Blackberry Festival was held. For decades now, the Club has been holding a Blackberry Tea/Festival on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. No one seems to know exactly when it began, only that it is an island tradition. The Blackberry Tea is the main fundraiser of the Galiano Club. If anyone does remember when it began please contact us at 2175. We would love to be able to document the beginnings.

This year the blackberry abundance was amazing and many people picked and froze berries for the Festival pies. The irrepressible Kathy Benger, at 90, picked over 24 litres. Pie production began on Wednesday, October 5th with a pastry workshop led by Alison Colwell, one of two part-time Community Food Program Coordinators. Over 200 “bottoms” were made in 2 hours. This was followed by 150 “tops” on Thursday. Friday was a soup making and baking day, along with the set up and decorating of the old Hall. Over 150 blackberry, blackberry-apple and pumpkin pies were baked and this year for the first time unbaked frozen pies also were available for sale. Our Junior Club members were showing up the old pros when it came to crimping the pastry.

Saturday began as a misty, cool fall day. In the early morning, people were in the Hall heating soups, slicing pies and organising the dishwashing. From the moment the doors opened at 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. there was a non-stop whirlwind of activity. A team of volunteers served 200 bowls of 10 types of homemade soups, buns from the Sturdies Bay Bakery, over 200 pieces of pie with ice cream, endless cups of regular tea, fresh mint tea and Galiano Coffee Roasting Company coffee. The soups ran out at 2:00, the pies were all sold by 3:00. Inside and outside the Hall were tables of produce, bread, canned goods, native plants from the Galiano Conservancy Native Plants Nursery and spun wool items for sale. This was the final day of the Galiano Saturday Farmers’ Market.

Not including the berry pickers, there were over 40 individual volunteers involved (the list will be published next month), many of whom were involved in more than one day of the activities including hours of dishwashing and clean up. Also among the volunteers was an enthusiastic contingent from the Galiano Club Junior Membership (from ages 5 to 18).

It’s always a wonderfully chaotic community event. Thank you to the Galiano community for supporting the Blackberry Festival and remember to mark Saturday, October 6th, 2012 in your calendars!