Marysville Strawberry Festival is on, but key ingredient is late

Local berries have been slow to arrive due to cold weather. But the festivities will go on, including a carnival and parade.

Marysville

MARYSVILLE — After a two-year hiatus, the Marysville Strawberry Festival is back.

But where are the berries?

Strawberries have been slow to ripen due to this spring’s cold, wet weather, according to two Snohomish County farmers.

“It’s made them about 10 days later than normal, maybe even up to two weeks,” said Mike Biringer of Biringer Farms. In addition, the rain has made fields soggy and difficult to work.

Depending on the weather, the farm plans to open its strawberry U-pick fields in Arlington on Thursday, Biringer said. It will have an early season variety available, with two more varieties yet to ripen.

The festival, started in 1932, celebrates Marysville’s formerly abundant strawberry fields. The event is traditionally held the third week of June.

Gail Frost, president of the Marysville Strawberry Festival, said this isn’t the first year the festival hasn’t lined up with Mother Nature.

Berries or no berries, the festival expects a good turnout. It kicked off with a golf tournament last weekend and features events through Sunday.

“We’ve had such a great response, so I know we’re going to be really busy,” Frost said.

There will be adult tricycle races at 6 p.m. Thursday, a berry run at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and a grand parade at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday down State Avenue. A carnival will open Thursday through Sunday at Marysville Middle School, and there will be a market with vendors Friday through Sunday at Asbery Field.

Musical performances are set for Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon.

A strawberry shortcake eating contest will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Asbery Field. The Daily Herald could not confirm the origin of the berries that will be featured in the contest.

The full schedule can be found at marysvillestrawberryfest.com.

For those missing strawberries, the fruit may be sweetest in the weeks after the festival. Biringer expects his U-pick to open every day through mid-July.

In Snohomish, the strawberries at Bailey Farm are running about two weeks behind, Don Bailey said. The farm runs a strawberry and vegetable U-pick.

“I’m sure people will be able to get strawberries in July this year, which is pretty late,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Biringer expects a good crop. He hopes for drier weather. When it rains and temperatures warm, that can cause mold on the berries, he said.

“So far I don’t expect the yield to be down, unless they get affected by a lot of inclement weather during our harvest,” he said. “Right now, it’s looking very good.”

Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; jacqueline.allison@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jacq_allison.

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