by Danny Wade
With the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival just days away, festival president, Chelsea Caraway, and general chairman, Betty Langley talked about the upcoming events. For the most part, there are very few changes in the line up, but there are new events and events that will get overhauls.
New this year will be Shortcake in the Park. The downtown mini park will be the place to be on Wednesday night.
“Tyson is teaming up with the Boys & Girls Club’s Chef Club and handing out strawberry shortcake for free while they last,” Caraway said. “People are always asking, where can they get strawberries during the Strawberry Festival. This will be one spot during the week to get strawberries.”
Something else that is new this year will be a photo booth set up on Main Street in front of the Abbey in downtown. Thursday night people can have their picture taken that will have a Strawberry Festival background and get a strip of four shots.
As far as changes go, this year will not have many. The biggest change is Monday night. Opening Ceremonies is now called Opening Celebration.
“This is basically a brand new event, except for the fireworks,” Caraway noted. “We want more people to come inside the stadium. We hope those who watch the fireworks from the parking lots or the streets will come in,”
To entice people to come into the stadium, there will be so much going on for the kids and for families. There will not be the normal program with announcements and introductions. Instead there will be several inflatables for the kids, a petting zoo, balloon animal artist, caricaturists to draw funny faces, and other fun and games. There will be white t-shirts with black outline lettering for kids to color and take home. A DJ will be playing music, keeping the night festive. And best of all, everything is free.
“When people come in, they will get a ticket for a free dinner from Tyson, McDonald’s or Sonic, while tickets last,” Caraway said. “Tyson will have chicken sandwiches, Sonic will have corndogs and McDonald’s will have hamburgers. All come with chips and a drink.”
“I anticipate there will be line at the gate to get it,” Langley added. “It starts at 6:00.”
Just before dark, all the fun and games will shut down and people will be asked to take their seats in the stadium bleachers. The stadium lights will come down and the fireworks begin.
Here is a day-by-day list of all the Strawberry Festival events.
Sunday kicks off with the Prayer Breakfast at the Humboldt Medical Center’s conference room at 7:45 a.m. Guest speaker will be Bert Harper. Advance tickets are required.
Sunday afternoon from 2 until 4 p.m. is the West Tennessee Regional Art Center Invitational Art Exhibition held at the art center in downtown Humboldt.
Monday will be Opening Celebration and Fireworks.
Tuesday offers a tasty event, the Recipe Contest & Taste of West Tennessee. Local cooks and bakers compete for prizes for cakes, pies, salads and miscellaneous categories. Restaurants from the area will set up booths and offer samples from their menus for guests to try. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for kids 13 and under.
Wednesday night, downtown will be hopping with the Bandstand Revue entertaining on Main Street in front of Humboldt Plaza 3. Main Street will be closed to traffic downtown so people can party in the street. The band kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday morning starts with a bang with the Jr. Floats Parade at 10 a.m. This is one of the largest non-motorized parades in the United States.
The Strawberry Classic Golf Tournament begins Thursday with lunch and registration at noon. The tournament will have a shotgun start at 1 p.m.
Thursday evening, four new Humboldtans will be inducted into the Humboldt Hall of Fame. Rita Howard and her late husband, Peter, will both be inducted along with Bishop G.E. Patterson and Lt. Orin Clay. The reception begins at 5 p.m., with the presentations at 6 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.
Two pageants will take place on Thursday as well. The Jr. Miss Territorial Revue will be at 4 p.m. and the Miss Teen Territorial Revue at 6 p.m. at East Elementary School. Admission is $5.
Thursday evening, Main Street will once again be the place to be with Party Planet providing the entertainment.
Friday morning is the Strawberry Festival’s claim to fame, the Grand Floats Parade at 10 a.m. Thousands of people come every year for the area’s biggest and best parade.
At noon on Friday, barbecue teams will set up for the BBQ Cook Off at Bailey Park. At 8 p.m., Johnny Mac and his band will perform. Mac was a big hit during last year’s cook off.
Also at noon on Friday, Strawberry Market on Main will open in the Opera House. The market is open until 5 p.m.
The Governor’s Luncheon will be held after the parade on Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Humboldt Medical Center conference room. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is scheduled to attend. Advance tickets are required.
Friday evening, the Chalmus Davenport Arena on Elliott St. will be the place to be with the Strawberry Festival Horse Show beginning at 6:30.
Two more pageants will take place at East Elementary School on Friday. The Jr. Hostess Princess Revue begins at 5 p.m. and the Hostess Princess Revue follows at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.
As Saturday rolls around, a full day of events is scheduled. It kicks off early with the 5K & 10K Run. Registration is at 7 a.m. at Bailey Park with the race beginning at 8 a.m.
Viking Park will be the site for the Car Show and Tractor Show. Cars will start arriving at 8 a.m. with awards presented shortly after noon.
BBQ Cook Off winners will be announced at Bailey Park Saturday morning just before noon.
The Strawberry Market will reopen on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The final two pageants of the 82nd West Tennessee Strawberry Festival will take place on Saturday at East Elementary School.
The Little Miss Territorial Revue begins at 11 a.m. and the Territorial Queens Revue at 6 p.m. Admission is $5.
The carnival will be downtown again this year, Tuesday through Saturday.
“We invite everyone to come out and enjoy the festival,” Caraway said. “I love hanging out on Main Street. It’s not an event, but everyone hangs out and has a good time. We want everyone to have fun and enjoy all the events.”