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Hartford Strawberry Festival returns after canceling 2020 due to COVID-19

A sure sign of summer’s approach in the Tri-City Area is the annual Hartford Strawberry Festival, which takes place the second week of June at Ely Park in Hartford. This year’s festival will run from Friday, June 11 until Sunday, June 13. A full schedule as well as sponsor information can be found online at the Hartford Chamber of Commerce website.


Sound and announcements throughout the duration of the festival will be brought to you by Joe MacMillan. Rides by Family Fun Tyme will be available at different price points. Tickets will cost $1.25 each or $25 for a family pack. Armbands lasting all day will also be available for $20 each. There will not be a Strawberry Run this year. Social distancing is encouraged for the festival, and masks are optional.


Friday, June 11


Tradition continues as the first day of the festival always includes the kiddie parade, followed by the crowning of Strawberry Festival Royalty, and then Magician John Dudley. While food vendors, other miscellaneous vendors, and rides by Family Fun Tyme will be available from noon on Friday until 9:00 p.m., the kiddie parade lineup will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library. The parade will begin to make its way down Red Arrow Highway towards Ely Park at 6:00 p.m., where it will end as the crowning takes place at 6:45 p.m.


This year’s contestants for Strawberry Prince are Bryce Crain and Mateo Ortega. Strawberry Princess candidates are Ariah Warner, Kamila Ferral, Charlotte Manning, Ava Simmons, Leilah May, Savannah Vela, and Liley Birkhead. Strawberry Shortcake contestants are Brooke Bailey, Roman Wells-Cannon, Barbara Ann Howley, (In Memory of) Matthew Brown Jr., Braxton Simmons, Raylynn Hess, Ulises Ortega, and Nicholas Crawford Jr. Sweetest Strawberry Baby Contestants are Isabelle Runge, Landon O’Neill and Melissa Diaz-Rosales. Voting boxes are available at Hartford Harding’s and Dollar General in Hartford. There is also a link to vote online through the Hartford Strawberry Festival Royalty Facebook page. Voting ends on Sunday, June 6 at 3:00 p.m.


Saturday, June 12


Family Fun Tyme rides and vendors will be open on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. The Strawberry Festival Parade will make its way through town at 1:00 p.m. Other events on Saturday include Lawrence Cardio Drumming and Bed Races.


Musical offerings from musicians named Ben monopolize the stage at Ely Park on Saturday afternoon and evening. Big Ben and the Burly Boys will take the stage on Saturday from 3:00 until 5:00 p.m. Big Ben and the Burly Boys are a local group from Watervliet consisting of Ben Farac, Benny Loshbough, Isaiah Roe, and Kenny Roe that delight with cover songs from multiple genres from the 1960s to present, and they even have some original songs as well. Ben Farac is looking forward to playing live again, explaining, “It’s been great, finally getting back to making music. Our arrangements are tight and our sound is powerful enough to knock you on your you know what.”


Band members Ben Farac and Isaiah Roe played their first show together at the same stage back in the day, according to band mate Benny Loshbough, who also said, “I’ve never played there but I’ve seen plenty of shows there so I’m pretty stoked to get to play on that stage as well. This is my first show since Christmas 2019, I believe.” Another musical group, Groupo Bengala & Bengala Ben, will change it up from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with offerings of Latino Mexican music.


Sunday, June 13


The festival will end on a more subdued note as Sunday’s scheduled offerings only include the vendors and rides by Family Fun Tyme from noon until 6:00 p.m. For general questions about the festival schedule, please email hartfordmichamber@gmail.com.

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