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Blooms-n-Berries offers sweet treats

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A PIECE OF CAKE: Judy Colvin, Upland Lions Club member,tops pieces of shortcake with fresh slices of strawberryat Upland’s Blooms N’ Berries Festival in Depot Park Saturday.
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CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: Onlookers try to stay dry as community members induct Rick and Cindy Wright into the Wall of Honor, a set of plaques displayed in Upland’s Depot Park that honorsthose who have made significant contributions to the Upland community throughcommunityservice, entrepeneurship or other accomplishments. The Wall of Honor’s second round of seven inductees was announced Saturday at Upland’s annual Blooms N’ Berries Festival.

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

UPLAND — This year’s Blooms-n-Berries festival drew crowds to celebrate summer with strawberry shortcake and sundaes, music and activities for all ages.

The festival, in its 18th year this summer, is sponsored by the Upland Lions Club, the Upland Historical Society and the Upland Garden Club.

Festivalgoers Saturday could enjoy strawberry shortcake, ice cream, snow cones, funnel cakes and other treats sold by the Lions Club, the Historical Society and several pop up concession trucks.

Selling flats and cartons of strawberries to festivalgoers has always been a staple of the festival, said Greg Maurer, treasurer of the Upland Historical Society. Proceeds from the sales support the historical society, and the Blooms-n-Berries festival is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.

Maurer expected by the end of the day he will have sold 150 flats of strawberries.

Although strawberries took center stage Saturday, across the train tracks from Depot Park a model train was on display in the Lightrider Red Barn, complete with a scale model of a drive-in movie theater with a laptop replicating a movie screen. 

Another barn hosted a book signing with local World War II vet and Upland native, Louie Benedict. The book, written by Taylor University students Hope Bolinger and Rachel Pfeiffer, tells the story of Benedict’s service in the war. 

Local pop-up vendors throughout Depot Park sold everything from jerky to “Hound Hankies” – homemade handkerchiefs for dogs – to boutique clothing.

Amber Dillon said she had “a pretty good day” selling designer women’s clothing out of her mobile store called The Farmhouse Merc at Saturday’s festival.

Dillon, an Upland resident and a teacher at Eastbrook South Elementary, tows her store-in-a-trailer along when her family travels to stock shows out of town.

She was excited Saturday that some customers had come out to the festival specifically to shop at her store, which she’s had for just over a year.

The festival also serves as a way to teach the next generation and visitors about Upland’s history.

The Depot Museum was open for tours, an old train caboose was set up for kids to explore and, at noon, several community members were honored as the newest inductees of Upland’s Wall of Honor.

Seven new plaques were added Saturday outside the Depot Museum to commemorate significant community members, like Jane Rockwell, who served for 30 years as Upland’s clerk-treasurer and watched Saturday as her name was added to the Wall of Honor.

Although Rockwell has recently moved away from Upland, to Florida, she told the crowd Upland will always be home to her.

Charity Bailey, president of Our Town Upland, which organized the Wall of Honor, said this was the second batch of inductees, but the first time they’ve been announced at the festival. She hopes that, moving forward, the Wall of Honor will become part of the festival’s long tradition.

This year, for the first time, Our Town Upland took community nominations for honorees.

“We knew there were stories out there that we hadn’t heard yet, and so we wanted the community to participate in the process,” Bailey said.

She said the volume of nominations they received this year was a good sign that the community is excited about the wall, and she hopes the wall will continue to give younger generations a chance to hear the stories of people who have played a significant part in Upland’s history.

The next call for nominations for the Wall of Honor will come in early 2019.