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Bluesberry Fest draws crowd in historic Norcross

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Drummer Theron Peterson of the Little G. Weevil band rocks out during the Blues Berry Festival featuring blues music and local breweries at Betty Mauldin Park in Norcross on Saturday.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Drummer Theron Peterson of the Little G. Weevil band rocks out during the Blues Berry Festival featuring blues music and local breweries at Betty Mauldin Park in Norcross on Saturday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Ron Jacob and his wife Jane dance to tunes of Little G. Weevil during the Blues Berry Festival featuring blues music and local breweries at Betty Mauldin Park in Norcross on Saturday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan A crowed gathers to listen to live blues music during the Blues Berry Festival at Betty Mauldin Park in Norcross on Saturday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Volunteer Mike Foley presents a SweetWater beer to a customer during the Blues Berry Festival featuring blues music and local breweries at Betty Mauldin Park in Norcross on Saturday.

NORCROSS -- For the Knoflicek family, the fresh fruit at the Norcross Bluesberry Fest was secondary to the blues and brews featured at the event.

"We may have some actual blueberries later on to counteract the unhealthy stuff," said Ardie Knoflicek. She and husband, Mike, showed up Saturday, curious to see the city's annual festival for the first time.

The Peachtree Corners residents live a very short drive away and said they both enjoy Historic Downtown Norcross events.

In the shade beneath an enormous American Elm Tree, the Knofliceks sat several feet away from Cory Scott and Neal Munroe, both Norcross residents. The young men lounged on a blanket in the green grass, sipping Terrapin Beer. Their fiancees, meanwhile, perused wares in the downtown shops.

It was their first time at the Bluesberry Fest as well.

"It's nice and laid back," Munroe said. "The beers on tap are good, too."

Scott chimed in that the event had a somewhat "small town feel ... even though you're just miles away from a massive city. Sitting here in the shade drinking beer and relaxing, you'd never know it."

Both men sported blue shirts but insisted "it wasn't planned."

Fellow Norcross residents and sisters Jessica and Audrey Buitrago watched 4-year-old Brianna tackle three scoops of frosty blueberry ice cream in a Styrofoam cup. "She loves it," said Jessica, the girl's mom.

The vendor selling the ice cream, Araceli Patton, owner of Dahlonega Vegetable Farm, said it's been a good year for harvesting the indigo-colored berries.

The secret to growing them plump, she said, is "patience, patience, patience."

Added Patton: "It's a lot of work ... a lot of mornings waking up at 5 a.m., but it's worth it when you get a good harvest."

As guests popped tart berries in their mouths and ordered cups of the fruit-flavored dairy confection, they bobbed their heads to the music of artists like Truett Lollis, T-Grease Johnson and Little G Weevil. Some took to the foot of the stage, dancing.

Carrie Parks and husband Philip said they felt inspired to dance.

"This is the real deal," Carrie said, sipping at a glass of Sweetwater. "Here, hold my beer," she said, handing it to a friend as she danced her way back to the stage. Philip shook his head, laughing.

Back over beneath the big elm tree, the Knofliceks lounged in the shade, taking long, slow sips of beer.

Said Ardie Knoflicek: "You couldn't ask for anything better. It's beer and the blues on a beautiful day."