The blueberry may be small, but it's causing a big debate between blueberry buffs in Pender and Bladen counties. A newly proposed bill may name Pender County's blueberry festival as the official state recognized festival, an idea some Bladen County growers see as a problem. Blueberry farmer Ralph Carter said Bladen County is the largest producer of blueberries in the state. It is also home to another much smaller but longer running festival. Key reasons he says he has a problem with calling anything official. “If you call it the official state blueberry festival, then everything is focused on that one particular area,” Carter said. With the bill passing it's first reading, and being considered by state lawmakers, Carter said if Burgaw’s blueberry festival is named the official state festival, he will feel a little slighted. There are several more steps before state lawmakers give it the final approval. Bladen County’s blueberry festival is set for June 6th, while Burgaw’s is scheduled for June 20th.
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