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MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The 39th annual Machias Blueberry Festival kicked off Friday. Highlights from the weekend include a 5 mile run and the famous blueberry pie eating contest.

Organizers said about 10,000 people will attend the festival throughout the weekend.

Hundreds of vendors make money by selling their products at the festival. Organizers said that money goes a long way, helping Down East blueberry farmers and businesses long after the festival ends.

Tourists come from across the country for the festivities, many returning year after year with their families.

"It's really important. They come once. They found blueberry festival online and decided to come last year and came back again, so it's very important," Sarina Brooks, Food Committee Chair for the Centre Street Congregational Church, said. "And economically, for the whole community, it really has become just a whole county-wide event."

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