Mad River Union
WESTHAVEN – Near the end of July, my mouth starts watering for pie – specifically, blackberry pie.
Those prolific women in the Westhaven Ladies Club have done it again. As of last week, they were up to 912 blackberry pies and counting. It’s all for the 57th Annual Westhaven Wild Blackberry Festival, always held the last Sunday in July to benefit the Westhaven Volunteer Fire Department.
“We’re going to try for a thousand pies,” Erica Ervin said. Ervin is the leader of the pie-baking pack, a job that comes naturally to her since she bakes those luscious muffins, scones, pies, and, sigh, bread puddings at the Seascape Restaurant in Trinidad.
Ervin, her sister, Greta Daniels and her mother, Carol Daniels, are part of a longstanding tradition. They and a group of women (and one man) meet every Tuesday afternoon for months at the Westhaven Fire Hall kitchen to mix the crusts, roll out the dough, and fill the pies with handpicked blackberries and huckleberries. Then the pies are frozen in the huge walk-in freezer, to be retrieved and baked just before the festival.
Other members of the group include Glenda Howard, Gail Ward, Ilene Poindexter and two shy women who did not want to be photographed, Marie and Traci. A wonderful couple from Chico, Wayne Birdseye and Charlayne Frame, has joined the pie party. They met Ervin at the Seascape where she was their waitress and struck up a friendship. Now they come over for a month before the festival and work hard on their “vacation.”
The group has also made 400 jars of blackberry and strawberry jam with another jam-making day scheduled before the festival.
Wise pie lovers know to go early to make sure of getting pie. The festival runs Sunday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be music, 25 to 30 arts and crafts booths, activities for kids, tours of the fire hall, and food and beverages. All proceeds support the Westhaven Volunteer Fire Department, which serves more than 800 properties, including 450 homes. The firefighters respond to more than 100 fire and medical calls a year.
Last year, the Westhaven Ladies Club donated more than $10,000 to the department from the sales of their pies and jams.
Food on sale this year will include Humboldt grass-fed beef brisket sandwiches, hot dogs, veggie dogs and chili. Redwood Curtain Brewery, Mad River Brewery and Six Rivers Brewery all donated beer, with wine donated by Moonstone Crossing Winery.
Local music will be provided by The Sand Fleas, Rubberneck Rainbow, Sophie Roberts, Moonstone Heights and The Rinky Dink String Band.
The fire hall is located on Sixth Avenue in Westhaven. Take the U. S. Highway 101 Sixth Avenue exit and look for parking early. Leave the family dog at home, please.
Humboldt Transit buses stop across the street from the fire hall and the Sunday schedule can be found online at hta.org or by calling (707) 443-0826.
Come early in the morning and get a mimosa to go with your lucky parking space. What’s a better breakfast than pie? If you’re lucky, you may even share a slice of pie with Smokey the Bear. He's been known to show up for photo ops.