17 June 2011

102 Annual Strawberry Festival

The first full weekend in June marks the Strawberry Festival in Lebanon, Oregon. You know a city is great when it has a festival to celebrate the strawberry! The festival features a carnival and country fair, running races, organization sales, and Lebanon takes it one step further by making the World's Largest Strawberry Shortcake and marching it through the town in a grand parade.

We enjoyed the two-hour parade with some of the faculty and future students of Western University's Northwest campus. The theme for this year's festival was Strawberries in Paradise. Most of the floats and race contestants were decked out in grass skirts, flowers, and other tropical accessories. Here are some of my favorite moments from the parade:

Pictured above are Western University faculty and future students participating in the one mile and 5K race that preceded the parade on Main Street.

A video clip of the World's Largest Strawberry Shortcake and the Dean of Western University from Pomona

Animal Shelter puppies!

We had the great pleasure of sitting next to the parade announcers and radio show and enjoying their commentary and local insight on all of the floats and participants. One of my favorite announcer moments during the parade was the introduction of this participant, "Look ya'll another tractor!" Welcome to Lebanon, blogland.

Cute dance group, over the rainbow theme (note the strawberry clouds)
THE American Hero, literally on top of his carpet cleaning van making muscle poses without the assistance of a holding bar! So awesome!
Horses and cowgirls
Apparently clowns Patches and Ginger and their doll car have never missed a Strawberry Festival parade as long as the announcers could remember.
Astoria clown playing an organ (instrument has a special clown name, which I completely forgot) on the back of the clown car
Mini strawberry car
And the greatest, most laughable moment in this parade... the float "Labor in Paradise" sponsored by a local hospital birth center. I'm pretty sure that woman in the hammock was not in labor nor actually pregnant, but she was convincing enough that I was concerned for her welfare!

The tradition is that the after the parade travels through Main Street, the world's largest shortcake is sliced up and served to locals until it has disappeared. We actually didn't get to enjoy this healthy tradition, since it required traveling through the parade route to the carnival grounds at the other side of town. But if the strawberry shortcake was anything like what I've tasted at Burgerville, then I can only imagine that it was scrumptious!

There you have it folks, our first Strawberry Festival in Lebanon, Oregon.