06-14-2018 Rain puts a damper on Hartford Strawberry Festival!

Rain puts a damper on Hartford Strawberry Festival!

By Jon Bisnett Friday went without a hitch, but thunder, lightning and drenching downpours made it really tough to get the day started on Saturday morning. The sun came out eventually just before the parade, but hit and misses showers throughout the day kept visitors to a minimum at the Tri-Cities first summer festival.

“IT’S PIE EATIN’ TIME” says Miss Hartford Angela Saldana as she helps perennial pie baker extraordinaire Vicki McFarland of McFarland’s Pies distribute the official competition baked goods to the table for the annual pie eating contest.

Strawberry Royalty The new 2018 Sweetest Strawberry Baby is Colton Runge, son of Ryan and Jenna Runge. Strawberry Shortcake is Lynette Yaritza Arizpe, daughter of Ruth Ramon and Cristian Arizpe. 2018 Strawberry Prince is Iker Ferral, son of Victor Ferral and Alejandra Martinez. The 1st Runner-up is Liam Bittner and his parents are Darin Bittner and Aimee Johnson. This year’s 2nd Runner-up is Ethan Downing whose parents are Amy Spangler and Joey Moody.

NO SLEEPING IN… Miss Hartford and the Royals are looking good blazing down Main Street, but came up just a little short in the finals of the annual Strawberry Festival Bed Race.

Strawberry Princess for 2018 is Charlotte Meachum, daughter of Trever and Jennifer Meachum. Her 1st Runner-up is Paityn Serratos, parents Krystal and Javier Serratos. And 2nd Runner-up is Josilynn Bradshaw, the daughter of Kelsey Bradshaw. Parade awards The parade suffered from the pounding rain with several planned participants opting out as did many spectators, but for those who toughed it out, the sun miraculously broke through the clouds just 15 minutes before the parade began. Awards for this year are as follows: Best Marching unit – Hartford Girl Scouts; Best Car/ Tractor – Lawrence Royalty; Best Float – Community of Hartford; Best Youth Entry – Jesus is the Way Church. Strawberry Run results The racer count took a hit with extremely questionable skies at start time. Race officials delayed the start of the event while monitoring radar minute by minute which led to a decision to cancel the 10K for sake of safety. The 5K and shorter events did continue on soggy streets. The event sponsored by the Hartford Lions, now in its 40th consecutive year had never seen this brand of uncooperative weather for as long as anyone could remember. 5K overall finishers are as follows: Nick Kaley of Watervliet in first with a time of 19:43, pacing at 6:21; while Santiago Banda Jr. of Eau Claire came in second with a time of 19:59. Other local top 10 finishers include: Jody Williford, 6th, of Hartford; Chad Baird, 7th, of Hartford; and Page Eisbrenner, 9th, from Watervliet. 5K Walk finishers: Cathy Kimbler came in first with Hartford’s own 11-year-old Ellie Galvan came in second. Local walkers Ron Dixon of Hartford, Sybil Smith of Coloma, Cecilla Williams and Diane Kienz of Watervliet and Jenine Kling of Hartford all finished in the Top 20. You can view the entire race results online at https://hub.enmotive.com. Despite the weather, great food and fun was enjoyed by all, especially with the addition of several new vendors from the nearby Amish community who offered up a wide variety of homemade baked goods and candies. The sounds of Harbor Town filled the stage with classic rock to bring Saturday to a close, as the organizers look ahead to an even bigger, better and the hopes of a much drier event for 2019.

STRONG FINISH… Watervliet’s Nick Kaley brings it home to win the Strawberry Run 5K. The unique photo is a new feature available for free to all participants of this year’s events. Digital cameras placed at several locations along the route as well as the finish are triggered by RF chips in the racer’s bib tag. Visit