Festival Countdown

JUST AROUND THE CORNER – The 80th annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival is just around the corner. It runs Sunday, May 7 through Saturday, May 13. As always, the Strawberry Festival will be Humboldt’s biggest celebration of community, family and friends.

WTSF offers full week of events

by Danny Wade

Soon the smell of cotton candy, fiddlesticks, corn dogs and Polish sausage with grilled onions and peppers will fill the air. The 80th Annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival is right around the corner.

President Ashley Culpepper and his sister, General Chairman Melissa Swingler, have a week full of events planned to make this year’s Strawberry Festival memorable as always. This year’s festival runs Sunday, May 7 though Saturday, May 13.

The sibling duo decided not to make many changes as far as events go but did tweak some of them a bit.

The festival kicks off Sunday morning with the Prayer Breakfast. Last year President Rob DeLoach and Culpepper moved the Prayer Breakfast from Tuesday morning to Sunday morning. They thought it would be best to pray for the festival before it begins rather than after it had started. The Prayer Breakfast will be held at the Humboldt Medical Center’s conference room at 8 a.m. and will be over in plenty of time for diners to make their way to church afterwards. This year’s speaker is Andy Morris. Morris grew up in Humboldt and now resides in Chester County where he is senior pastor of The Highlands Church in Finger, Tenn. Advance tickets are required.

Sunday afternoon will be the West Tennessee Regional Art Center Invitational Art Exhibition. The show is runs from 2 to 4 p.m. at WTRAC in downtown Humboldt.

Monday night is Opening Ceremonies at Barker Memorial Stadium on the campus of Humboldt Jr. Sr. High School. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. Entertainment for the night will be Blue Eyed Sky. The fireworks extravaganza at 8 p.m. is always a hit. In case of rain, Opening Ceremonies will be moved to the HJSHS gym and fireworks will be rescheduled to Wednesday, May 10 at 8 p.m. at the stadium.

The Recipe Contest will take place Tuesday night in the Opera House in downtown Humboldt. In conjunction with the contest will be A Taste of Humboldt where local restaurants will offer samples of and other items. There is a small entrance fee for this event.

Wednesday evening is the Presidents Reception, also held at the Opera House. Each year the current Strawberry Festival president honors last year’s president during the reception. Other past presidents are also recognized. The President’s Reception is by invitation only.

Afterwards, outside on Main Street, Paula Bridges McGill and the Bandstand Revue will perform. Main Street will be closed off to traffic. Everyone is invited to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy the night under the stars.

Thursday morning at 10 a.m. is the Junior Floats Parade. This is the largest non-motorized parade in Tennessee.

The Strawberry Classic golf tournament will be held at Humboldt Golf & Country Club Thursday with registration and lunch at noon, and a shotgun start at 1 p.m.

The Opera House on Main Street will host Arts on Main from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Also Thursday afternoon will be two pageants. Junior Miss Territorial Revue will begin at 5 p.m. and Miss Teen Territorial Revue will be at 7 p.m. Both will take place at East Elementary School.

The Humboldt Hall of Fame Reception will once again be held at First United Methodist Church on 12th Ave. and Crenshaw. This year three new inductees will be honored, Alfred Tennyson Pulliam, Col. John Kenneth Cooper and Lloyd S. Adams Jr. The reception begins at 5 p.m. with presentations at 6 p.m.

The final event on Thursday will continue in downtown with Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster performing. Main Street will be closed off to traffic downtown.

Friday morning kicks off with perhaps the biggest of all Strawberry Festival events, the Grand Floats Parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m.

At noon the BBQ Cook-off is slated to start cooking at Viking Park.

Arts on Main will continue Friday, noon to 6 p.m.

The Governor’s Luncheon will take place in the conference room at the Humboldt Medical Center at 12:30 p.m. where Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will address the crowd. Advance tickets are required for this event.

More beauty pageants are slated for Friday evening. Junior Hostess Princess Revue is set for 5 p.m. at East Elementary. At 7 p.m. the Hostess Princess Revue will take place where the new hostess princess will be crowned to reign over next year’s 81 annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival.

Chalmus Arena is the location for the Strawberry Festival Horse Show, bringing in dozens and dozens of walking horses and riders vying for the Grand Champion title. The show begins at 6:30 p.m.

Back at Viking Park during the BBQ Cook-off, Wolf River Rednecks will perform, starting at 8 p.m.

The final day of festival week begins with the 5k & 10k Run at Bailey Park. Registration is at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.

Also at 8 a.m. the car show and tractor display will be held at Viking Park. Judging and trophies will be presented early afternoon. Make sure you see who wins Best Car, Best Truck and Humboldt Rescue Squad Best of Show awards.

Winners of the BBQ Cook-off will be announced around noon on Saturday at Viking Park.

At 11:30 a.m., Little Miss Territorial Revue will be held at East Elementary School.

Festival week concludes with the crowning of the new Territorial Queen. The Territorial Queens Revue is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at East Elementary School.

Kissel Entertainment Carnival will set up again set up right off of Main Street in downtown Humboldt. Many people believe moving the carnival back downtown a couple of years ago was one of the best moves festival officials made.

There is always plenty to do festival week. Many will simply enjoy eating fair food and visiting with family and friends along Main Street.

The West Tennessee Strawberry Festival spotlights Humboldt at its very finest. It’s no wonder hundreds of people come from miles around to see Tennessee’s best festival each and every year.

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