Blackberry Festival Berry Pickers

After one hour of picking for a total bounty of 43.4 lbs. of blackberries, berry pickers at the Toksook Bay Blackberry Festival gathered for a group photo before going to get their berries weighed. The event took place last Saturday.

Siblings sweep top three spots in Blackberry Picking Contest

by K.J. Lincoln

Three siblings – two sisters and a brother – won first, second, and third at the 2018 Blackberry Picking Contest in Toksook Bay this past Saturday.

Perennial winner Albertina Charles of Newtok picked blackberries like a machine, sometimes using both hands to pick the millions of blackberries growing on the tundra on the outskirts of Toksook Bay.

Charles picked 8 lbs. of berries in one hour, the time allotted for the Blackberry Picking Contest held on Saturday during the Labor Day weekend.

Coming in a close second was her brother Raymond Carl, also a picking machine, and the only man participating in the woman-dominated event. Carl is a resident of Toksook. He picked 7.2 lbs.

For third there was a tie between Winnie Julius and Esther Chimiugak. Julius is the sister of Charles and Carl. Julius and Chimiugak both picked 5.2 lbs. They are both from Toksook Bay.

Coming in 4th was Mary Kailukiak. Her berries weighed in at 4.2 lbs.

The youngest picker, Matilda Alirkar, picked 3.6 lbs. to earn her the number five spot.

Everyone had a great time picking along with Contest Organizer Colleen Chase. The berry picking contest is one of the events featured at the Blackberry Festival.

Altogether, the 10 participants picked a total of 43.4 lbs. of blackberries.

The youth also had a picking contest. Coming in first was Fayt Usugan. In second was Cyrdeun Wiseman, and in third was Yvaine Curtis.

Other event results are:

Akutaq Contest 1st Sophie Karl, 2nd Cathy John, 3rd (tie) Nellie Charles & Mary Kailukiak

Qaspeq Contest Boys: 1st Norman Chimiugak, 2nd Drake Pitka, 3rd Carter Tulik. Girls: 1st Ellyne Aliralria, 2nd Dayna Aluska, 3rd Misty Lewis. Women: 1st Winnie Julius, 2nd Madeline Tulik, 3rd Stella Maxie


Raffle Winners

Honda Foreman: Moses Charles, Newtok

15cft Freezer: Marie Carl, Newtok

12 Gauge Shotgun: Rylan Jumbo, Nightmute

$2000 Cash: Lacey John, Kipnuk

iPhoneX: Isabelle Dyment, Bethel

Samsung Galaxy S9: Jake Redfox, Emmonak

40,000 AK Airmiles: Susie Walter, Tununak

GPS Garmin 76s: Albert Active, Newtok

Chainsaw: Albert Active

Sewing Machine: Katherine Brower