Natalie Kline throws out candy Saturday for attendees of the Wilton Blueberry Festival parade. Kline said she loves being in the parade because it is nice to see how happy all of the kids are, especially when they get candy. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

WILTON — The streets of downtown were filled with people, vendors, music, floats and fire trucks at the 2022 Wilton Blueberry Festival, held Friday and Saturday.

Friday night kicked off with a children’s fun run, 5K and 10K races across town. The 10K runners passed through downtown Wilton during the Free Street Dance. Dancers and beer-drinkers alike cheered on runners as they ran past Monument Square, where Matt & The Barnburners were playing music.

Tim and Diane Hunt of Wilton kicked off the dancing, swinging back and forth. The couple moved from Connecticut in 2021.

Diane described the festivities as a great way to get to know the town.

Diane and Tim Hunt dance Friday night to music from Matt & The Barnburners during the Wilton Blueberry Festival’s Free Street Dance. Diane, who recently moved to town with her husband, said the dance party and festival were great ways to get to know the town. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

“It’s just a riot,” she said. “I haven’t seen so many people since I’ve moved here.”

Behind them, sisters Kylie and Jordyn Baldwin danced together as well. Kylie, 8, twirled Jordyn, 2, back and forth.


Their mother, Tara Baldwin, said it was great to bring the girls out to their first Blueberry Festival, which she also attended while growing up in Wilton.

On Saturday, Weld Road and Main Street were lined with people of all ages waiting to see the famous Wilton Blueberry Festival parade, themed “Summertime Fun.”

Floats in the parade were bedecked with kiddie pools, trees, flowers and picnic tables. Walkers in the parade handed out candy and, perhaps most appreciated, ice pops in the scorching-hot weather.

Dean and Jeannine set up shop on the corner of Weld Road under umbrellas. The two have been attending the Blueberry Festival since it first started in 1982.

Dean said he loves seeing all of the kids waving from the floats and vehicles.

“It’s great meeting your neighbors here,” Jeannine said.


“And it’s good for Wilton’s local economy,” Dean added.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden and former Franklin County state Sen. Tom Saviello walk the Wilton Blueberry Festival parade route Saturday. The duo walks the parade together every year, Golden said. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

U.S. Maine Rep. Jared Golden also walked the parade with former Franklin County state Sen. Tom Saviello, as they do every year.

“I love this parade,” Golden said while shaking hands with attendees he passed by.

“It’s a wonderful day,” Saviello added.

Students from Thomas Performing Arts Center perform a dance routine Saturday during the Wilton Blueberry Festival parade. TPAC was awarded first place by judges for their float. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

Wilton Selectpersons Tiffany Maiuri, Phil Hilton and Keith Swett — who were judging the parade – declared the winners: Thomas Performing Arts Center in first place, Allied Realty in second and Franklin Savings Bank in third with an honorable mention to Revolution Cheer.

Thomas Performing Arts Center brought out its classic showing: an elaborate float trailed by students from the center performing a dance routine.


Following the parade, attendees poured into the center of downtown Farmington, where there were vendors, food trucks, a beer garden and live music.

Blake Gilligan, left, runs for candy while brothers Gage and Walker enjoy lollipops Saturday during the Wilton Blueberry Festival parade. Walker said he might like to drive one of the Shriner’s trucks someday, while grandmother Chris Cox said she’d love to drive a motorcycle in the parade. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

The wave to Monument Square highlighted one of the primary intentions of the Blueberry Festival: to foster economic development in Wilton.

In 2021, the Wilton Blueberry Festival Corp. board of directors suddenly canceled the festival due to COVID-19 safety concerns, and Shannon Chase Smith stepped down as chairwoman.

Saviello, a former Wilton selectperson, felt it important to ensure the Blueberry Festival continues given how many people it brings to town.

Saviello, Town Manager Rhonda Irish and others assumed the responsibility of coordinating a tampered-down version in 2021 just two months beforehand.

After seeing the success of the 2021 event despite its constraints, the Wilton Select Board decided to keep the festival running under the town’s auspices with a new events committee and events coordinator, Renee Woodard.

The rest of the day was filled with activities at Kineowatha Park, events at Monument Square and fireworks over Wilson Lake.

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