JOYCE — Joyce Daze is canceled, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the wild sweet blackberry pies that have been sold each year won’t be available.
The Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival, scheduled for Aug. 1, has been called off. It would have been the 38th year of the fair that celebrates the small, native blackberries that grow on the North Olympic Peninsula, as well as small town life in the West End community.
Highlights of the festival include homemade blackberry pies, a parade on a state Highway 112 as it runs through town (closed to traffic for the occasion), children’s activities, an arts and crafts show, vendor booths, live entertainment and demonstrations.
“The Joyce Daze Organizing Committee is sad to announce that we voted to cancel this year’s Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival,” said Rae Leiper, publicity chair for the committee, in a press release issued Friday.
“The reason for our decision is uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
“We have no idea what restrictions will be in place come August regarding the holding of large gatherings. Our main concern is for the safety of the Joyce Community as people travel from far away to join in the festival.
“We do not want the festival to contribute to the transmission of COVID-19 in our area.”
In addition, the committee is concerned about the cost of running a festival that might not pay for itself, Leiper said.
“We had already spent more than $1,000 to purchase buttons and 2020 T-shirts. With event insurance and permit costs looming, we felt it was too risky to continue spending for and planning an event that might be canceled later anyway,” she said.
The festival raises funds for scholarships for graduating seniors and grants to several community serviced organizations.
To attempt to recoup money already spent, the committee plans to sell 2020 T-shirts with the word “CANCELED” reprinted over the design.
“This is sure to be a collectors’ item,” Leiper said.
”We are also hoping to raise some funds by holding a pre-ordered pie sale sometime in the fall, as we have a freezer full of berries that need to be used,” she added.
Details about these fundraisers are expected to be announced later.
Berries are picked the end of August the year before each festival.
Those harvested this year won’t go to waste.
“We are looking forward to Joyce Daze 2021,” Leiper said.
For information about Joyce Daze, see joyce daze.org.