Strawberry festivals have been a part of spring and summer celebrations marking the transition from the cold and dreary wintertime to a time of renewal, life, and color. Strawberries are the first crop ready for harvest in most temperate regions. When they are ready to be picked, it is a signal that scarcity is about to give way to abundance. And, that is cause to celebrate! There are scores of strawberry festivals, and most have long, storied histories of community involvement, integration of all people into the enjoyment, and fun activities for all ages.
Most strawberry festivals center around, of course, the magnificent strawberry and are held in either the month of May or June (although some are held both earlier and later). A typical strawberry festival will include a pageant for children or teenagers (or both), lots of music, events and activities centered around eating strawberry dishes (including strawberry shortcake!), and a host of other family fun. Depending on the size of the strawberry festival, carnival rides and other games and activities are available.
Most strawberry festivals are free to attend. However, none are free to put on. The typical small-town strawberry festival is usually hosted as a fund-raiser for various community groups, often a church or a chamber of commerce, and are funded by vendors and artisans who rent space at the festival in order to offer their crafts and wares to the festival goers. There are also several festivals who charge an admission to cover the cost of administrating the festival and to profit. Each festival is different and offers unique traditions and character. Some are associated with Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms, and most can provide a day or a weekend full of excitement!