‘Berry Big News
New events coming to Strawberry Festival
by Danny Wade
Each year when the Strawberry Festival rolls around, the festival president and general chairman want to put their own stamp on it. This year is no different.
Strawberry Festival President Sherry Jo Smith and General Chairman Shane Lynch, working with Humboldt Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator Beth Culpepper, announced three new events for this year’s 84th annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival.
New this year will be a singing contest, Berry Idol, where contestants will compete for a share of $850 in prize money. Berry Idol will take place on Tuesday, May 3 at 6 p.m. at Magnolia Manor in downtown Humboldt.
Berry Idol is open to solo and duet vocalist, ages 10-21. Any contestant under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission.
Berry Idol is open to the first 30 contestants who sign up and pay the entry fee—$35 for solo vocalist and $45 for duets. Registration begins Tuesday, March 15 and is on a first come, first serve basis.
Judges will select the top three contestants with the winner receiving $500. Berry Idol is a qualifier for the MidSouth Fair.
Admission is free to this new event but seating will be limited.
Another new event this year is the Strawberry Festival Cornhole Tournament, which will take place Friday, May 6 at Bailey Park during the BBQ Cookoff. Registration begins at 6 p.m. and bags will begin flying at 7 p.m.
There will be two categories for the tournament, pro-series and amateurs, with over $900 in prizes and money. There is a $10 entry fee per person. Two-person teams will be paired up through a blind draw.
Concessions will be available that evening during the tournament and cookoff.
A third new event this year will be popular for little girls but is certainly open to anyone. Royal-Tea in Berryland is a tea party for ages three and up (with an adult), and will take place Sunday, May 1 from 3 to 4:40 p.m. at the Opera House in downtown Humboldt.
Tickets are $10 each and guests will enjoy tea and treats. There will be a photo booth for memorable pictures to cherish for years, crafts and other special surprises.
Royal-Tea in Berryland tickets must be pre-purchased with a limited number of seats and tickets available.
Visit www.strawberryfestivaltn.com to purchase tickets and find registration information for this year’s Strawberry Festival events.
Of course, most all of the Strawberry Festival events that everyone loves will take place as usual. But unfortunately, two events have been canceled again this year for safety concerns. The Strawberry Festival Recipe Contest and A Taste of Humboldt were canceled last year and will not be back this year.
Last year, in place of A Taste of Humboldt, festival officials created A Taste of the Festival. This will return this year once again. A Taste of the Festival is a basket filled with vouchers for concession vendors visiting the Strawberry City during festival week. There will also be other goodies in the basket.
Baskets must be pre-purchased and will be picked up Sunday, May 1 at the Opera House after the tea party from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The Berry-Man can hardly wait for this year’s Strawberry Festival
Berry Idol, Royal-Tea in Berryland, Strawberry Cornhole Tournament are new attractions this year.
Other events during festival week include the West Tennessee Regional Art Center Invitational Art Exhibition on Sunday.
Monday begins with the Prayer Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Humboldt Medical Center’s conference room. Guest speaker this year will be Clayburn Peoples. Monday evening at 6 p.m. is the Opening Celebration at Barker Memorial Stadium followed by the Fireworks Extravaganza.
Wednesday’s events will be happening in downtown Humboldt with the Strawberry Shortcake in the Park at the downtown green space at 6 p.m. Shortcakes will be handed out while supplies last. Then at 6:30 p.m., local favorites, Bandstand Revue, will perform on Main Street. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the evening.
Thursday kicks off with the Jr. Floats Parade at 10 a.m. on Main Street. The Strawberry Classic Gold Tournament begins at noon. First United Methodist Church near downtown is the site for the Humboldt Hall of Fame Reception at 5 p.m. The day concludes with live entertainment on Main Street at the reviewing stand across from the Humboldt Higher Education Center featuring 12 South Band at 7 p.m.
Friday gets started with the biggest and best event of the week with the Grand Floats Parade at 10 a.m. on Main Street. At 12:30 p.m., Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will be the special guest at the Governor’s Luncheon in the Humboldt Medical Center conference room. Advance tickets are limited so make sure you get yours early. Barbecue cookers will get their grills and smokers fired up at noon on Friday. Strawberry Market on Main also begins at noon and runs until 5 p.m. inside the Opera House on Main Street. Friday evening brings another long-running event, the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Horse Show at Chalmus Davenport Arena on Elliott Street at 6:30 p.m.
The final day of festival week kicks off early Saturday morning with the 5K/10K Run. Registration begins at 7 a.m. with the race at 8 a.m. at Bailey Park. Viking Park will be the site of the Car and Tractor Show, rolling in at 9 a.m. Winners are typically announced early afternoon. BBQ Cookoff winners will be announced at Bailey Park around noon on Saturday as well. Strawberry Market reopens at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.
Festival week is known for beauties from six different pageants. Thursday’s schedule includes Junior Miss Territorial Revue at 4 p.m. followed by Miss Teen Territorial Revue at 6 p.m. Friday hosts the Junior Hostess Princess Revue at 5 p.m. followed by the Hostess Princess Revue at 7 p.m. Saturday wraps up with the Little Miss Territorial Revue at 11 a.m. and culminating with the Territorial Revue at 6 p.m. All revues will take place at Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School on Viking Drive.
People from Humboldt and the surrounding area can hardly wait for the first full week of May each year. Humboldt opens up her welcoming arms to everyone to enjoy the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival.