Winslow Congregational Church will celebrate Winslow’s 45th annual Blueberry Festival from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the church on Lithgow Street. The festival offers pies, breakfast, crafts, a yard sale, a bake shop, a café, children’s games and activities, a silent auction and music. This year WCC will make 450 pies for sale.

The festival’s mission is to promote fellowship and generate funds that extend to the services of the congregation, and continues because of John J. Houston.

Early spring of 1971 a budget shortfall brought members of the church together to close the financial gap. Through creativity, energy and resources the festival was born.

Houston came to Winslow from Island Falls in 1955 to assume the superintendent position of the Winslow, Vassalboro and China schools, where he remained for almost 30 years. Shortly after coming to Winslow, he and his wife joined the church.

Houston inherited blueberry fields in Bucksport from his father, Howard Houston. A few years later he added to the original tract of acreage. Today, Houston’s four sons own and operate the Bucksport blueberry tract.

When John J. Houston passed, his devotion for WCC shined through as he added WCC to his will saying that the church, for as long as possible, will receive blueberries for their festival each year. The sons have now support the church as well. Four hundred pounds of fresh berries are raked in the morning and delivered to the church.

The church building is nestled along the bank of the Kennebec River where it has stood since 1796. Built using timber frame design, this structure served as the town’s first meetinghouse until 1828, when it became the current Winslow Congregational Church.

For more information, contact Sheila Bacon at the church at 872-2544.

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