Summer festivals celebrate communities' character

Parents photograph their children as they compete in a blueberry pie eating contest during the 53rd annual National Blueberry Festival in South Haven in 2016.

One measure of a community’s character is what it does for fun. Events planned for this summer in Southwest Michigan will showcase hometowns’ civic pride and plenty of family entertainment.

Some festivals in Berrien and Van Buren counties will highlight the area’s agricultural heritage – such as blueberries in South Haven, peaches in Coloma, cherries in Eau Claire, and strawberries in Hartford. Elsewhere, St. Joseph and South Haven will celebrate the arts, and just about every other community will host festivals with small-town neighborliness.

Summer festivals celebrate communities' character

Hannah Seiler makes pancakes for the the Kiwanis Blueberry Pancake Breakfast during the 2012 National Blueberry Festival.

Summer festivals celebrate communities' character

Parents watch as their children compete in a blueberry pie eating contest in 2016, during the National Blueberry Festival in South Haven.

Summer festivals celebrate communities' character

Baskets of peaches adorn a float during the 2016 Glad-Peach Festival parade.

Summer festivals celebrate communities' character

Tommy Dyer, 4, of New Troy, blows bubbles during games sponsored by Curious Kids Museum during Celebrate Bridgman last year in downtown Bridgman.