August 31, 2015 6:59 pm
Updated: August 31, 2015 8:05 pm

Huckleberry Festival features high elevation berry picking


WATCH ABOVE: Huckleberries only grow in the mountains, and as Blake Lough reports, a local ski resort fires up the chairlift once a summer to help with the picking experience

CASTLE MOUNTAIN – Castle Mountain is known for its skiing in the winter, but it also has a summer draw. Hundreds of nature lovers flock to the mountaintop for one day in August for the annual Huckleberry Festival.

The festival has been a tradition at the resort for decades with people travelling from all around the area to forage the small, sweet berries.

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“The main focus is just to pick huckleberries,” said General Manager of Castle Mountain ski resort, Brad Brush. “It’s the one day in the summer where we actually open the chairlift to get people up the mountain so they can hike down and look for all those luscious huckleberries.”

The berries grow in small bushes near the ground and only at high elevations. The pitless fruit can be found in the areas approximately eight kilometers on either side of the southern border.

“You find them at the higher elevation and that’s why it’s so great for people to come here – because we have the chairlift,” said Brush.

Once berry pickers arrived back at the bottom of the mountain, they could enjoy a festival complete with face painting, a bonfire, barbecue, bouncy castle and pig roast dinner. Sales at the festival helped the Castle Mountain Community Association raise funds for local groups like disabled skiing and ski patrol.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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