Strawberry Fest Honors Soldiers

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New at this year's festival: Meet regional mascots and watch them race!

In the early 1900s, Portland’s big industry was strawberries. During the peak of the strawberry business, Portland would ship out 30 railroad cars each day. In 1941, the town hosted its first Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival, and 77 years later, the tradition is still going strong. In fact, the festival draws more than 30,000 people to the streets of downtown Portland.

STARS, STRIPES & STRAWBERRIES

This year’s festival takes place on Saturday, May 12 with a theme honoring our veterans and active members of the U.S. Armed Forces. New this year is the Mascot Meet & Greet and Mascot Race at 3 p.m. featuring different mascots from the area.

The festival takes place from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. It kicks off with a pancake breakfast followed by the Strawberry Stride 5K. The event includes live music, games, a parade, carnival, storytelling, strawberry eating contests and more than 100 vendors with food and craft items. Members of the 101st Airborne, the Command Color Guard of The Tennessee Army National Guard and local veterans serve as the parade’s Grand Marshals. A concert by Four on the Floor at 6 p.m. precedes Anthem Artist Joe Everson and fireworks.

Prior to the big event on Saturday, this year features several activities earlier in the week. These include a Golf Tournament (May 8), Strawberry Carnival (May 8 – 12), Strawberry Slam Wrestling event featuring Jerry “The King” Lawler (May 11) and more.

For the full schedule and more info, visit middletennesseestrawberryfestival.net.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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