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It’s Berry Time

Strawberry Festival royalties visit
downtown during annual City Tour

84th annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival
Hostess Princess Hailey Hill (left) and Territorial Queen Ramsey Crouse

The first official event of the Strawberry Festival always takes place several days before festival week. Saturday, festival royalty and dignitaries participated in the 84th annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival City Tour.

The City Tour has evolved over the past couple of years, mainly due to covid. Instead of visiting local industries, Rotary for lunch and retail stores, the City Tour now focuses on downtown Humboldt and keeps everything within walking distance.
Strawberry Festival President Sherry Jo Smith and General Chairman Shane Lynch, along with Humboldt Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator Beth Culpepper and Executive Director Amanda Love, hosted the tour that included several stops up and down Main Street.

Strawberry Festival royalty participated in the tour including Hostess Princess Haley Hill and her court 1st Maid Maddy Beth Harris, 3rd Maid Ashlyn Bell and 4th Maid Katie Alexander (2nd Maid Jewel Bodkins was unable to attend); Territorial Queen Ramsey Kate Crouse and her court 1st Maid Addy Measley, 2nd Maid Macy Jones and 4th Maid Mallory Pickle (3rd Maid Alyssa Wade was unable to attend); Junior Hostess Princess Sophie Lepinski; Miss Teen Territorial Nadia Presson; Junior Miss Territorial Brinlee Bunney; and Little Miss Territorial Emily Lorraine Mullins. Some of the parents also attended.

Strawberry Festival Honoree Marzette Stallings attended breakfast with the young ladies. Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes
participated in the City Tour and photographer Danny Wade made sure everything was chronicled for most of the day.

Strawberry Festival City Tour breakfast at West TN Regional Art Center

The group met up at the Humboldt Chamber office for breakfast. After breakfast, President Smith spoke briefly, welcoming everyone and introducing all the attendees. Smith and Lynch handed out special strawberry swag bags filled with all kinds of Humboldt goodies.

Mayor Sikes also spoke to the group. He said Humboldt is an awesome place to be during the Strawberry Festival. He talked a little about the history of the festival dating back to the 1930s. Sikes, on behalf of the city of Humboldt, presented each of the royalty with a strawberry necklace.

Clay trays at Laura Giles Studio

Ramsey Crouse

The second stop of the tour was a short walk across the street, less than a block away to Laura Giles Art Studio. Last year, the art studio was a huge hit with the royalty painting their own strawberry portrait.

Hailey Hill

This year, Giles had something else in mind for the young ladies’ project for the next hour and a half. They made clay trays, first smoothing the flatten clay before making decisions to personalize their respective works of art. There were several options to make a pattern in the clay on the bottom side. Then they gently flipped the clay over. Next they decided which shape they wanted to make. The flatten clay was big enough to make two or three different trays.

Once they picked out the shapes, they meticulously used a knife to trim the clay using the block pattern they selected. Once the clay was cut to the proper shape, they placed the clay on foam sheets, placed the block precisely on top of the clay and pressed down to shape the clay in the form of the tray.

Brinlee Bunney & Sophie Lepinski

Macy Jones & Mallory Pickle

Each girl customized their trays by painting strawberries and other designs on the clay. Once the painting was finished, it was their final step for the day. Giles said the clay must dry and then would be fired to harden the trays. This process would take a few days.

The masterpieces will be picked up during Strawberry Festival week.

After the fun at the art studio, the group went a few doors down the road to City Gift to do some looking and shopping. The young ladies and their moms cruised the aisles checking out the merchandise.

Visiting City Gift Company

With noon arriving, it was time for lunch. Chamber Bucks were given out to use to purchase lunch at any of the three downtown eateries, Milano’s Pizza, Mi Casita or The Coffee Shop. It was time to kick back and rest after a full morning of fun.

Fun at The Kandy Bank

With bellies full (or almost full), the tour visited The Kandy Shop for sweets and even ice cream for some.

Main Boutique

Main Boutique was the next stop on the tour. City Tour attendees browsed and shopped.

The Coffee Shop was the final stop of the tour.

The final stop of the day was The Coffee Shop where several got a pick-me-up after a day of fun in the Strawberry City.

As everyone went their different ways, the girls and their moms got a first hand look at Humboldt hospitality. Kudos to all the royalties for being such good ambassadors for the city and the Strawberry Festival. And a congratulatory pat on the back goes to President Smith, General Chairman Lynch, Director Love and Coordinator Culpepper for hosting such a wonderful day. These young ladies made memories they will never forget. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of many, many memories to be made during the 84th annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival, May 1-7.

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