COBB’S REBIRTH: THE FIRST ANNUAL BLACKBERRY COBBLER FESTIVAL

Two banners stretch between the towering pine trees, surrounded by cloth streamers twirling in the mountain breeze like prayer flags.  BLACKBERRY COBBLER FESTIVAL they read.  Underneath, people sit at the long picnic table, resting in the shade, sipping on blackberry beer, and eating blackberry cobbler mounded with whipping cream.

Jessica Pyska of the Cobb Area Council trots past, carrying a case of wine. 

“Isn’t this incredible!” She grins, rushing to get the wine to the booth quicker.  “There are so many more people than we expected!”

This festival, nearly four years after the Valley Fire burned too many homes, marks the rebirth of Cobb. Like the now ten- and fifteen-foot oak trees that sprout from their burned stumps, Cobb is coming back to life. For the past year, the Cobb Area Council has worked to ‘bring the fun back’ to Cobb and support the local businesses; the Cobbler Festival is the fruit of that hard work.

“I was sick to my stomach last night,” one of the many volunteers wearing a blackberry colored t-shirt says.  “I was so worried no one would come.” Then she beams. “And look how it turned out! It’s so busy!”

It’s true. People have come in droves, immediately filling the field set aside for parking and requiring a new parking lot to be opened.  The shuttles quickly became overwhelmed, and more cars got pressed into shuttle service.

While they expected initially around two hundred fifty people, nearly one thousand show up, some from the Bay, others making the trip up Cobb Mountain from Upper Lake, Clearlake, and the Oaks to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the fresh blackberries.

“It’s wonderful!” Jessica Pyska smiles. “We couldn’t be happier!”

The festival winds through the trees of Whispering Pines Resort.  At the shuttle drop-off, a small sign sits on a stump, an arrow pointing people down a forest path to the barbecue pit and bounce house.  There, the trail winds to the heart of the festival.  Booths nestle among the pines, filled with local artisan wares. 

Everywhere people are smiling and laughing.  John and Lia of Teardrop Trailer strum their guitars on the deck of one of the resort’s thirty log cabins, surrounded by children. 

John and Lia of Teardrop trailer play to an appreciative audience

It’s a step back in time. Whispering Pines feels like summer camp or a fondly remembered childhood vacation. 

“People have been coming here for generations,” Jake Strickler, part of the family who has run the resort since the early 1900s, says. “They pick the same cabin and the same week.” There’s a reason for that. The resort exudes nostalgia—it’s like looking at a black and white photo of a time past. No phones in the cabins, no televisions.  Instead, it’s meant for family barbecues and mountain summer evenings on the large decks, where the kids run around outside until dark and spend the night playing card games.

Jake Strickler of Whispering Pines Resort

Laughter comes from the long table. Glasses filled with purple-tinged wine rise and fall in people’s hands. Sunlight filters through the trees, glinting light against happy faces.  Summer’s winding down; kids are heading back to school. Soon vacation homes will be boarded up, and Whispering Pines Resort will close for the winter.  But right now it’s summer, and it feels like this day will last forever.

To keep up with what’s happening on Cobb, follow their Facebook page. For more information on Whispering Pines Resort, visit their website.

David Wakefield

David and Trudy Wakefield started The Bloom in 2018 to showcase the best parts of Lake County and to provide a local outlet for community events, arts, music, and writing.

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