The 2017 Pasadena Strawberry Festival in Pasadena, TX took place May 19th-21st. According to festival Executive Director, Bert Muston, they had an increase in admission and ride gross this year. A combination of family friendly entertainment, a carnival midway, and new and interesting foods set the 2017 Pasadena Strawberry Festival for big success.
The 2017 Strawberry Festival kicked off with an opening ceremony on Friday May 20th at 5pm. Scholarship recipients, parade winners, and beauty queens received their awards and the ceremony was open to the public. This year, the Strawberry Festival gave out 17 scholarships.
Admission to the Strawberry Festival is $15 for adults, $5 for kids 5-11, and free for kids 4 and under. Additionally, the Strawberry Festival sold family pas
ses of admission for 5 people for only $30; these passes were good only on Sunday.
All entertainment at the Strawberry Festival is included with paid admission. The festival features several different activity areas for customers of all ages to enjoy. The "Kids Zone" had free arts and crafts, inflatable games, a strawberry eating contest, face painting, and a live puppet show. Outside of the kids zone festival-goers could enjoy a petting zoo, pig races, pony rides, balloon artists, a thrill show, a magic act, a juggler, and a Yo Yo professional. The broad range of entertainment acts kept guests busy and provided them with quality activities in exchange for admission.
The Pasadena Strawberry Festival has two different stages on which musical acts perform. The Arena Stage hosted two different country artists this year: Wade Bowen on Friday, May 19th and Kevin Fowler on Saturday, May 20th. The local music stage featured acts from Pasadena and nearby towns.
The local music stage is one way for people in the community to get involved in the Strawberry Festival; however, there are several other opportunities provided.This year, the festival hosted its first "Sweating For Berries" fun run on January 28th. Participants could choose either the 5k or 1k event and both were non-competitive to encourage entire families to participate. All proceeds from the fun run benefited the festival.During the festival, people could participate in the mud volleyball tournament on Saturday or the BBQ cook-off which featured awards in the following categories: brisket, fajitas margaritas, ribs, and strawberry dessert.
The Pasadena Strawberry Festival partnered with Armstrong Shows who provided the carnival midway rides. According to Muston, they also saw an increase in the ride gross from 2016's numbers.
This year's Strawberry Festival also featured a few interesting food items. Festival-goers had the opportunity to see a recreation of the world's largest strawberry shortcake dessert. Weighing in at 21,578 pounds and measuring 2073 square feet, the massive cake, produced by Kroger, was unveiled in 2014. Now they recreate it each year and sell huge slices and sheet cakes. Some of the more popular, interesting food items provided by vendors this year were fried pizza on a stick and salad on a stick, according to Muston.
Muston says that the Strawberry Festival works with a budget of about $47,000 which they spend mostly on radio and tv with billboards and TX Dot signs taking up the rest of the budget. Muston is one of only two paid staff members on the Strawberry Festival team. For the festival to run smoothly each year, Muston relies on the 30 festival directors who are all volunteers and the 1300 other volunteers who give up their time to make the Pasadena Strawberry Festival a success.
"We gave the public a great show for a reasonable price. The weather was good, we were full with vendors, everything just came off really smooth and nice," says Muston about the 2017 festival. When asked what he plans to improve on next year, Muston said he would like to improve their lineup of concert performers.