Marysville festival celebrates strawberries and one big birthday

MARYSVILLE — The strawberries are fresh but the festival is 85 years old.

The annual Marysville Strawberry Festival kicks off this weekend with activities for children Saturday and the annual 5K Berry Run on Sunday. The parade is next Saturday, June 18.

The first strawberry festival was held in 1932 as a one-day parade. As the decades passed, events and days were added until the local strawberry season included a week-long collection of activities and entertainment.

This year, the festival offers a chance to celebrate the city’s 125th birthday, said Mark Jensen, vice president-elect of this year’s festival board.

“We wanted to do something special,” he said. “This is the 85th year. Come out an celebrate your community and have fun.”

The Strawberry Festival runs all week, from June 11 to 19.

The first day of the festival is the Kids Day Party in the Park. Free family activities are planned starting at 10 a.m. at Asbery Field near the corner of 4th Street and Alder Avenue. The party includes a bouncy house, crafts and shows.

The Berry Run 5K race starts at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Tulalip Ampitheatre between Seattle Premium Outlets and the Tulalip Resort Casino. The fee to enter for kids is $12. For anyone older than 18 years old, it is $20.

A fashion show is planned for Tuesday to raise money for scholarships. Tickets are $25 and the event starts at noon in the Marysville Opera House, 1225 3rd St.

Each year, the festival foundation raises money for at least six scholarships: three to juniors and three to seniors on the Strawberry Festival royalty court. The foundation is working on getting a 501(c)3 nonprofit designation to expand the scholarship program, Jensen said.

Later Tuesday evening, there’s a talent show at Marysville Pilchuck High School, 5611 108th St. NE. Tickets are $5 and doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Carnival rides start Thursday, weather permitting, and go through Sunday, June 19, at Marysville Middle School.

At Asbery Field, the festival market is expected to have shopping, dining and live music from June 17 to 19.

The second Saturday of the festival includes some of the biggest highlights of the week. A rose-planting ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. at Totem Middle School and a car show is going to be set up near the marketplace. The annual strawberry shortcake eating contest is at 1 p.m. at Asbery Field. A Kids Parade starts at 6 p.m. at State Avenue and 7th Street, followed by the Strawberry Festival Grand Parade at 7:45 along State Avenue.

Fireworks finish the festival around 10 p.m. June 18.

“This is going to be the biggest fireworks show ever for the strawberry festival,” Jensen said.

With 379 shells, the show is expected to go for about 15 minutes. There should be good viewing from just about anywhere along State Avenue, Jensen said.

After 85 years, the festival still is growing, he said. Along with working to expand the scholarship program, there are plans to bring more events to future celebrations, including the return of at least one longtime favorite.

Jensen has heard fond memories and funny stories about the trike races — competitive races between adults on tricycles. The races aren’t scheduled for this year’s festival.

“But watch next year for the trike races to return,” he said.

For more information about the Marysville Strawberry Festival, go to maryfest.org.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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