Purple tongues are an inevitable outcome of Nome’s Blueberry Festival, as residents gather to celebrate the coveted tundra blueberry. These little bursts of flavor are plentiful around Nome come August and September, and are an important subsistence resource. Drive out any of the three roads from Nome and you’ll see berry pickers dotting the tundra, gathering buckets and buckets to put up for the winter months.
The Blueberry Festival, held on a Saturday in late August/early September, is a time to take a break from picking and gather to enjoy music, arts and crafts, and blueberry-based foods. From jams to salsas to desserts, there are plenty of tempting options. “Blueberry Delight” is a favorite among locals, although everyone seems to have their own take on the recipe. The only definite is that it must have some kind of cream layered with a blueberry filling. (Our favorite features a walnut-butter crust.)
Browse through tables of more than 25 vendors, who offer blueberry-themed art, jewelry, notecards and more. Musicians liven up the scene (although set-lists are typically short on blueberry-themed songs!).
Ask at the Nome Visitor Center for the date of this year’s festival. In good weather, you’ll find folks gathered at Anvil City Square. If it’s raining, vendors squeeze in to nearby shops: Bering Sea and Bearing Song.