Dallas Stucke has become well-known for his turkey or chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy in a waffle cone meal.
It’s a recipe he featured at a few central Pennsylvania fairs, including the Clearfield County Fair earlier this month.
But on Saturday, he thought less about a Thanksgiving dinner-type meal and more about Thanksgiving dessert.
Stucke, the man who’s overseen the Camp Store at Black Moshannon State Park for 14 seasons, was a mastermind in making blueberry delectables for the annual Blueberry Ice Cream Social and Dance.
10th annual Blueberry Fest held at Black Mo
The annual event, now in its 10th year, is held as a way to get more people to the Camp Store, and, of course, to feature blueberries when they’re in season.
“Everyone always has a strawberry fest; we wanted to be different,” park volunteer and event co-founder Shawn Kirk said. “The idea was to highlight the store so people know it exists, but there is a lot of focus on kids and families.”
It included live entertainment; door prizes; youth competitions like Hula-Hooping, limbo and guessing games; and food that featured blueberries picked at the park and from a berry farm in Kylertown.
We can get the blueberries right here in the park, as long as you get to them before the bears do.
Dallas Stucke, Camp Store operator
“We can get the blueberries right here in the park, as long as you get to them before the bears do,” Stucke said.
In total, about six gallons of blueberries picked last week were used for homemade blueberry pies, blueberry shortcake and blueberry milkshakes.
Blueberry syrup was also used as an ice cream topping.
“There’s not much you can’t make with them, but you also have to be careful because the blueberries can get very watery,” Stucke said. “It’s all about finding a good balance.”
And blueberry season came early this year because of the warmer weather.
“It would have been perfect a couple weeks ago, but it looks like things still turned out nice,” Stucke said.
Day started at 5 a.m. for workers, organizers and volunteers who helped put fest together
The pies were made early Saturday morning with help of other staff and volunteers who used their own recipes.
The Blueberry Fest annually attracts about 300 people, but organizers expected this year’s crowd to be a little less because of rainy weather.
“We’ll take what we can get,” Stucke said. “We used to hold this to drum up business and create some revenue, but it’s not like that anymore. That’s OK because it’s so much more than that; it’s just a payback to the park that provides a lot to the community.”