HUDSON — Instead of taking the ride up to Brooksville for the Blueberry Festival, a local church held their own blueberry event in Hudson to save a trip for locals that want to enjoy the delicious berries and festivities.

On April 25 and 26, the 2019 Pasco Blueberry Jamboree was held at Faith United Methodist Church. There were vendors, dancing, a bounce house, a petting zoo, and of course, blueberries.

Shelli Ginther, vendor coordinator, helped plan the jamboree, alongside Lynn Jacquette, the chairman of the Pasco Blueberry Jamboree. Ginther wants the event to shed light on all aspects of the church.

“We do things out in the community and we want people to understand our partnerships,” Ginther said. “It’s not to promote the Faith United Methodist Church as much as bringing people to acknowledge what can go on in churches that are friendly and happy.”

The event was started nine years ago by Brenda Short as a memorial to her late husband, Jerry. The couple owned a blueberry farm and he would often bring the fruit to his job with the county. The employees gave him the nickname “Blueberry Jerry,” which is how Short came up with the event’s original name “Blueberry Jerry Jamboree.”

The event averagely brings in more than 500 attendees.

A few of the blueberry treats for sale included breads, pies, oatmeal cookies, and the most popular, blueberry cobbler.

Ginther said, “Someone said that the blueberry cobbler is the best they ever tasted.”

There were also performances by the 15 line dancers who make up the Hudson Stompers. Shirley Taylor was one of the organizers for the group that started 15 years ago by dancing through the nonprofit senior service agency CARES. She enjoys seeing the seniors light up when they see the performers.

“You can’t imagine what the music does. It brings them to life,” Taylor said.

One of the highlights of the jamboree was the Jenk’s Ranch & Rescue, based in Shady Hills.

In the petting zoo, there was a horse, a goat and a cow, as well as smaller critters like ferrets, rabbits, ducks and guinea pigs.

Over 30 vendors set up a table at the event including Ruth’s Dip Pantry, June’s ETC, Paparazzi, Pink Zebra and Blueberry Blessings.

The money raised will go towards the church as well as the various charities and organizations they help out.

Ginther said, “I like the way it brings people together to work for a common goal. Teamwork is always fun.”

The church also held a blueberry pancake breakfast Saturday morning and a chicken dinner on Friday night.

The 10th Pasco Blueberry Jamboree is scheduled for mid-April in 2020. Faith United Methodist Church is at 12128 State Road 52. Call 727-856-5000 for more information.