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Local artisans bringing crafts, food and fun to Fogo Island; and wedding bells will be ringing at the Partridgeberry Festival

The annual Partridgeberry Festival on Fogo Island is attracting attention from outside vendors and festival director Pauline Brown is excited to see the growth.

Gertie Wells had an assortment of wooden crafts for sale including this codfish cutting board at the 2015 Partridgeberry Festival on Fogo Island. The annual event is set for Oct. 8-9 at the Iceberg Arena.


The event is set for Oct. 8-9 at the Iceberg Arena on Fogo Island and booths are filling up quickly.

“In the first two or three years of the festival we had only vendors from Fogo Island and Change Islands, but there were only so many available,” Brown said. “We opened it up to vendors from off the island and it’s catching on and people are wanting to come and take part.”

Having new vendors each year — there are six lined up for this festival — broadens people’s outlook on what there is to do and create and see Brown told The Pilot.

Along with the traditional harvest contest and craft contest where people can enter their biggest and best vegetables and display their handiwork there will be a Best Mustard Pickle contest.

“We (organizers) try to come up with things that are fun to get people involved and who doesn’t like mustard pickles?” Brown said. “It’s about participation and having fun and we want to see as many as possible take part.”


Saturday, Oct. 8

The Festival runs from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday with a full slate of vendors and events for visitors.

The 2016 feature artist, Mark Fiset of Fogo Island Metal Works, will be on hand throughout the day with some of his works.

There will be a special treat for the children this year as well.

“I’ve always believed the children are the most important people at the Festival and on the island,” Brown said. “They are the future of our communities and we wanted to go the extra mile and have something great for them.”

Shelley Bean and the Duckety Muds will be performing three shows throughout the two-day event along with the traditional boat building and activity tent.

Shelley Bean takes to the stage at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

At 2 p.m. there will be the first ever Blessing of the Fish by Rev. Gail Williams. Brown noted that for many years there would be a Blessing of the Fleet, but this year Williams and other clergy suggested a Blessing of the Fish.

Brown thought it would fit perfectly with the festival theme.

“Fish is a harvest and everything connected to the harvest is what we’re into,” Brown said. “Partridgeberries and fish go hand-in-hand.”

Following the Blessing of the Fish a very special event will happen at the Festival.

Wedding bells will ring as the first ever marriage ceremony of the festival takes place at 3 p.m.

M’Liz Keefe and Don Paul are going to tie the knot at the place they met — the Partridgeberry Festival.

The couple met three years ago when Paul decided he wanted to take a vacation.

Brown said he picked Fogo Island at random, came during the Festival and met Keefe.

“It’s a love story, no doubt,” Brown said. “He came for a vacation and they hit it off, got engaged last year and now we’re having a wedding.”

At approximately 4 p.m. the dance floor will be cleared and the couple will dance together as husband and wife followed by the Fogo Island Square dancers.

When the doors close on the first day of the Festival the fun moves to the Church of the Holy Spirit Hall for a variety concert with singing, skits and much more at 8 p.m.

Admission can be paid at the door.

“Last year we held it at the stadium, but a lot of people found it cold so we moved it to the hall so people can be comfortable,” Brown said.


Sunday, Oct. 9

The Festival continues from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday with two more children’s shows by Shelley Bean and the Duckety Muds at 2 and 4 p.m.

“Sunday is the day things wind down,” Brown said. “People usually come to have lunch, socialize and get some last minute things, but it’s still a great day.”


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