The Shenandoah Valley Cloggers perform during the 2012 Blackberry Delight festival at Shenandoah National Park. Deloris Judy, a member of the group, says she enjoys participating in the annual event. (Photo by Courtesy Photo / Rebecca Armstrong, Byrd Newspapers)
According to Steven Sterritt, executive chef at Shenandoah National Park, Valley locals with a sweet tooth should clear their schedule July 29 and plan to attend the annual Blackberry Delight festival at SNP.
Sterritt says the event will offer a “dessert-heavy menu” including blackberry cobbler, blackberry ice cream and blackberry cream floats.
He personally, however, considers the standout dessert to be the blackberry trifle.
“We’re going to serve it like a parfait,” he said. “It’ll have layers of vanilla sponge cake, whipped Chantilly cream and blackberry syrup.”
To ensure the blackberries have “great flavor,” they are purchased from local sources, such as Miller Farms.
“When they come right off the vine, they’re just better-tasting,” Sterritt remarked. “There’s no comparison.”
In addition to the traditional blackberry desserts, the menu also features some creative combinations, such as blackberry barbecue.
Deloris Judy, who performed at last year’s event with the Shenandoah Valley Cloggers, recommends trying the unusual items.
“I think the blackberry barbecue [was my favorite],” she said. “You wouldn’t even think it would go well together.”
This year, Judy will be performing again with the SVC, a non-profit clogging group started in the early 1980s.
“We get paid a fee to dance, but we donate it back to the community,” she said, adding that the group has raised money for local nursing homes, food pantries, and fire departments.
Judy, who calls clogging a “dying art form,” says the dance originated in the Appalachian Mountains in the early 1900s. It combines aspects of other dance forms, including Irish and English jigs, flat-footing and Appalachian square dancing.
“It looks [like a cross] between Riverdance and square dancing,” she explained.
Judy says she’s always enjoyed performing at the Blackberry Delight in the past, and is looking forward to dancing at this year’s event.
“We’ve danced [at the festival] several years,” she said. “It has great music, fabulous food; it’s just a great way to enjoy the local blackberries.”
Contact Katie King at (540) 574-6271 or email@example.com.
Want To Go?
Where: Skyland Resort at Shenandoah National Park.
When: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. July 27.
Activities: Blackberry treats, face painting, wine tasting, pony rides, live music by High Ground bluegrass band. Shenandoah Valley Cloggers will perform at noon.
On The Menu
Main dishes: grilled chicken breasts, pulled pork or sausages served with a variety of blackberry-based sauces and relishes.
Side options: Sweet corn on the cob, coleslaw, potato chips and blackberry fruit salad.
Desserts: Blackberry trifle, cobbler, ice cream and floats.
Food will be available throughout the event.