Sat. May 27: Have a Berry Good Time!

This Memorial Day weekend, celebrate the beloved strawberry at the 2nd annual Alderson Strawberry Festival held in the center of Alderson (from the Visitor’s Center to Alumni Park) from 10am-3pm on Saturday, May 27th. Strawberries are a widely appreciated fruit known for their aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness, and they will be plentiful during the Strawberry Festival! Saturday’s events feature food vendors, strawberry shortcake, chocolate dipped strawberries, a dessert contest (any type of dessert can be entered!), and U-PICK Strawberries at Sunset Berry Farm. In addition to kids activities and live music, there will be a Cornhole Competition where winners score FREE strawberries & a chance to WIN a kayak! Also, come early for the Pancake Breakfast at the Alderson Fire department, which goes from 7:30-10:30am. This festival was started to provide local nonprofits a free venue to fundraise and educate, while bringing the community together and benefit the town of Alderson. Last year, it attracted over 1,000 attendees and this year’s anticipated attendance is over 2,000. So don’t miss out on a berry good time!

Strawberries are an important commodity in this country. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economics Research Service, strawberries are the fourth most valuable fruit crop in the United States following grapes, apples, and oranges. Over the past two decades the United States strawberry industry has grown with increasing production, consumption, and larger trade volume.

One of the first recordings of the strawberry traces back to the thirteenth century where a Greek doctor described the berry’s use in treating health ailments in his writings. Commercial strawberry production in America began in the nineteenth century on the east coast near large cities, eventually making their way to West Virginia!

Kids will have a blast with a variety of activities including a Crazy Straw Contest, which is a game of connecting straws to make longest one and then sip a drink through it. It is an activity for kids and was a big hit last year! There will be Face Painting by the Artisan’s Gallery, a Hay Maze for anyone under 4 feet, a Petting Zoo organized by local 4H, Sunflower Planting where kids can take it home and watch it grow (this costs a few dollars and supplies are provided – seed, dirt, cup); Daisy from Abracadabra will also be attendance. Abracadabra is a half-hour PBS series that presents health education, nutrition, and science. Daisy owns the garden shop next door to the magic shops and she teaches viewers how to make healthy snacks. There will also be a Dunking Booth organized by Girl Scouts of America!

Starting at 10am, the Cornhole Competition is open to every man, woman, child, old & young alike, so grab your partner and sign up! Partners can be parent/child, husband/wife, best friends, or you can even find a partner by posting to this event. Entry fee is $10 per person ($20 per team) for early birds who purchase tickets on this event or $12 per person ($24 per team) will be collected on competition day.

While you’re there, enjoy the tunes of Emmalea Deal and the Goodson Boys. Emmalea is a PCG Nashville recording artist from West Virginia. She is only 16 years young and has videos on YouTube and frequently live streams on facebook. She plays original music and also covers by Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Arctic Monkeys, and many others. Learn more about Emma at emmaleadeal.com. The Goodson Boys are a local family trio who began their musical careers as children and have been performing in and around Greenbrier County ever since. The band performs an eclectic range of music including classic country, country, gospel, southern rock, and oldies. Bandmembers include Willie, Randy, and Michael… Goodson! Learn more at facebook.com/GoodsonBoys.

If You Want to Pick-Your-Own: Can’t make it to the festival or want to treat your family to a pick-your-own strawberry farm? Check out Sunset Berry Farm between Sunday, May 14 – Sunday, May 28th. It’ll be a strawberry pickin’ good time!

U-PICK STRAWBERRIES:

• Dress comfortably. Wear loose fit clothing.

• Wear a hat or cap and bring sunscreen.

• Bring your own containers.

• If you plan to spend the day, take ice to keep berries cool.

• Select only firm ripe berries.

• Be careful not to remove the tops of the berries.

• Make an effort to pick every ripe berry on each plant rather than jumping from plant to plant and row to row.

Sunset Berry Farm has 1 acre of strawberries and 4 high tunnels and this year, they are officially opening up their strawberry patch for U Pick so start a berry sweet tradition this year! There’s only enough berries for 50 pickers per day so reservations are required at this link: sunsetberryfarm.net/products/u-pick-strawberries. If you don’t have time for the strawberry patch, order the finest chocolate dipped strawberries. Mother’s Day delivery (Lewisburg)! sunsetberryfarm.net/t/chocolate-dipped-strawberries. The farm is located at 791 Sunset School Road on Flat Mountain in Alderson. For more information, call them at 304-646-3784.

The purpose of this event is to showcase beautiful Alderson, promote local agriculture, provide social arena for Alderson and surrounding areas, provide fundraising opportunities for non-profits, and support Alderson merchants. Get out and support! To stay updated with the festival, follow them at facebook.com/aldersonstrawberryfestival 

– HashtagWV May 2017.

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