BURGAW –  When Al Meadowcroft was asked to craft a blueberry, he must of thought Pender County’s tourism and parks departments were a bit crazy.

However, when Meadowcroft, the instructor of the welding program at the Cape Fear Community College Burgaw campus, learned of the purpose of the task, he and his classes were “all in.”

Cape Fear Community College welding classes designed and crafted the frame of the blueberry that will be lowered in the first New Year’s Eve Blueberry Drop.

“This program offers day and night welding classes,” said Meadowcroft. “We involved both our day and night classes.”

The class welded aluminum straps and gently formed the straps into the shape of a blueberry. The six-foot frame is light-weight at approximately 20-lbs.

“We have about 15 hours of work involved,” said Meadowcroft.

The CFCC program offers instruction on all types of welding, including stick, TIG, and MIG. It is a program that offers a full educational experience with hands-on instruction that provides students with workforce ready skills. Meadowcroft said his students find local jobs quickly.

The classes even had suggestions on how to lower the blueberry in the New Year’s countdown.

“This is a perfect example of the community working together for a family-friendly event,” said Pete Cowan, Burgaw mayor.

“We were happy to contribute to the Blueberry Drop,” said Meadowcroft.

The Blueberry Drop is sponsored by the NC Blueberry Festival, the Town of Burgaw, and Pender County. The drop will begin Dec. 31, at 5 p.m. Eaglewing, an Eagles tribute band, will perform. The countdown will take place just before 7 p.m., which is midnight on Greenwich Mean Time.

“This will be a fun event for the entire family,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism director.

“We are excited to begin such a unique tradition here in Burgaw,” said Zachary White, Pender County Parks and Recreation Supervisor. “With this celebration we are offering our residents and visitors a unique way to ring in the new year and celebrate the local Blueberry industry.”

Al Meadowcroft, CFCC instructor

Al Meadowcroft, CFCC instructor

Pender County Parks and Rec Supervisor Zach White, welding instructor Al Meadowcroft, Welding student Joshua Roberts, and Pender County Tourism assistant Olivia Dawson.

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