Grab your fork, put on your eating pants and get ready for the North Carolina Blackberry Festival July 13th and 14th in Lenoir.

The 17th Annual N.C. Blackberry Festival begins at 5 p.m. on Friday in downtown Lenoir and will continue through 9 p.m. Saturday.   

Friday night features a singer-songwriter competition, the N.C. Blackberry Pageant, the Blackberry Recipe Contest and the Blackberry Beer Garden.

On Saturday, the festival opens at 9 a.m., and features live music and the Blackberry eating contest.

At noon, the N.C. Panthers PurrCussion Drumline will start the Colossal Parade Brigade complete with a master of ceremony, Joe Delk, a local Lenoir attorney.

The parade includes New Orleans style life size puppets, locals with instruments and children, followed by the world’s largest patchwork blackberry cobbler. The cobbler is assembled in the town center and is given freely to more than 300 people until it's gone.

On Saturday evening, world renowned blues artist, Sandra Hall and the King Bees, will bring down the festival with a performance.

More than 35 food trucks will be at the event with an additional 230 vendors.

Chick-fil-A Blackberry Patch will have a designated area for children complete with bouncy houses, face painting, crafts and games, and the Farmers Market will be full of N.C. Blackberries for the taking along with local N.C. vegetables and produce.

For more information, contact the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce at (828) 726-0616 or visit www.ncblackberryfestival.com.