Hot weekend makes for a fun, sweaty Strawberry Fest

Temperatures reaching into the 90s last weekend didn’t stop hordes of island residents and visitors from heading to town for the Strawberry Festival, the annual celebration that typically draws 40,000 to 50,000 people.

A young woman rides the mechanical bull at the Strawberry Festival carnival.

Temperatures reaching into the 90s last weekend didn’t stop hordes of island residents and visitors from heading to town for the Strawberry Festival, the annual celebration that typically draws 40,000 to 50,000 people.

Attendance appeared to be down slightly this year, said festival organizers, who credited the heat with keeping people indoors. Still, they called the weekend-long event with food, live music, vendors and activities for kids another success.

“It also felt less frenetic,” said Jim Marsh, director of the Vashon Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the Strawberry Festival. Festival organizers prepared for the heat as much as they could, he said, adding extra tents to concert areas and quickly creating a spray station that sent a cool mist on those who found their way to it.

Also new this year was a homegrown carnival, with attractions such as pony rides, rock climbing and a giant slide. The chamber of commerce, which didn’t use a traditional carnival company this year, pieced the event together. Marsh said he heard positive feedback about the carnival, though he’s not sure if the chamber made money on it. “It was an experiment,” he said. “I’m already thinking of ways to improve it for next year.”

 

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