a hayride at the Delaplane Strawberry Festival
How the Delaplane Strawberry Festival got started (from their website):
“According to local residents, a strawberry festival was a tradition in Delaplane around the turn of the century to celebrate the arrival of summer. In 1976 when villagers were looking for a way to celebrate the Bicentennial, they reinstituted the tradition and held the first Delaplane Strawberry Festival of modern times in front of the country store. They blocked off the old county road, brought in a four piece country band for entertainment, an auctioneer, and planned children’s games on the wide green floodplain along Goose Creek. An old-time steam engine was due to come through on an excursion from Front Royal.”
Well, all was good in 1976 except that a late spring freeze ruined the local strawberry crop. Fun was had nonetheless (and the few strawberries that were available were used in ice cream sundaes) – and while the festival became increasingly popular, the local strawberry crop was never sufficient and the crowds overwhelmed the area along Goose Creek by Highway 17. The festival was discontinued…. until:
In 1994 several ladies of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Mary Scott, Kitty Lee Pritchett and Betty Ann Trible, decided to resurrect the Delaplane Strawberry Festival to offset a slight deficit in the church’s annual budget. For tradition’s sake, they kept the name – Delaplane Strawberry Festival, and the country fair feel of the day. They chose Sky Meadows State Park just up the road as the new venue and a holiday weekend to draw in visitors Most importantly, they located a reliable source of strawberries from California for the hundreds of flats needed to solve the local berry supply problem. Today nearly 10,000 people visit the two-day festival which has become one of the premier events in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
I missed the festival this year – but a friend, Alison, spent a warm Saturday afternoon at Sky Meadows enjoying the views… and the strawberries of course! She generously granted permission for me to share her photographs with you – thanks Alison! It’s the next-best thing to being there (and next year, if you find yourself on Highway 17 in Virginia where Clarke and Fauquier Counties meet… why not plan to stop for a bit? You can’t beat strawberry shortcake and views of the Blue Ridge).
I’d like to say a special ‘thank you’ to Alison (above) for sharing her visit to the Delaplane Strawberry Festival with us – her photographs are wonderful!