Community celebrates Marysville's 78th Annual Strawberry Festival

MARYSVILLE — After an extended period of hard work, the 2009 Marysville Strawberry Festival is upon us, and the event's organizers couldn't be more pleased.

Jodi Hiatt is a past president of the festival, who's still active in its arts and crafts. She acknowledged that, in the current economic climate, finding sponsors has been a bit more difficult than usual this year, which is why is she lauded the efforts of the sponsorship committee, and singled out Judy Anderson, Carol Kapua and Angie Miller for praise.

"We all like to think that ours is the hardest job, but the sponsorship committee probably faced the toughest challenge this year," Hiatt said. "We're all committed to putting on a festival with the same level of quality that we've had in the past."

Anderson commended the festival's sponsors as "fantastic," noting that they've been even more generous in their support than in previous years, to the point that even sponsors from previous years, who have been unable to participate in this year's festival, have assured festival organizers that they want to be part of the festival again next year.

"Throughout the year, everyone has really pulled together to help each other out," Anderson said. "We're like a family that way."

Hiatt noted that several new people have joined the festival this year, including Kerry Jorgensen, whose work in coordinating the fashion show has impressed Hiatt.

"It's hard to step into a well-established event like that and just take it on, but she's done a great job," Hiatt said.

A scheduling conflict left the Marysville Rotary unable to coordinate the tricycle race, so festival organizers have had to step up and take that event over this year.

"It's been a scramble, but we have seven teams confirmed already, with a potential for seven more," Hiatt said.

Genie Rinderer, advertising chair for the festival, acknowledged that this year's festival organization has been "a little more hectic" than last year, with "a lot more last-minute changes," but she nonetheless expressed pride in how the festival is turning out.

"Last year was abundant, but this year, people are a little more cautious," Rinderer said. "We're right at the same level of parade entrants that we had this time last year, though. A lot of folks tend to do things at the last minute, and we have two less parade entrants now than we did this time last year, so the parade should be just as good as it was last year."

Rinderer is always excited to check entrants into the Grand Parade, while Kim Mease has been organizing the Kiddies' Parade from Spokane.

Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall has longtime family ties to the festival, since his daughter was a festival princess "the year that Mount St. Helens erupted," and his wife is a past president of the festival.

"A lot of people don't realize the time that goes into putting together this festival," Kendall said. "It's not just the organizers, but also the volunteer members of the community, who step in when they're needed. There are a lot of old-timers who have seen this thing grow and are still involved, and they come out of the woodwork to help out."

Kendall praised the festival as "a great community effort" that enhances the image of the city as a whole.

"We're a small enough city that we can invite everyone out to come see the parade," Kendall said. "It brings the whole community together, and it kicks off the summer. I always look forward to it."

Caldie Rogers, president and chief executive of the Greater Marysville-Tulalip Chamber of Commerce, settled down in Marysville, when her son was born, in no small part because of events like the Marysville Strawberry Festival. Because her family moved around so much when she was a child, she never developed a sense of having a hometown, and she's come to cherish the sense of hometown that she feels pervades the Marysville community.

"The Strawberry Festival is synonymous with 'hometown,'" Rogers said. "As we grow from a small town into a suburban community, it's critical that we retain that hometown feel, and the heart of that feeling lies in community traditions. The Strawberry Festival is among the best of those community traditions."

Rogers noted that the Chamber strives to preserve that hometown feeling as well, and added that far too many members of communities neglect to take advantage of the events and attractions that lie in their own backyards.

"I would encourage everyone in Marysville to participate in at least one of the festival activities," Rogers said. "You will come away from it richer, and with a greater sense of home."

In the meantime, this year's Berry Run already kicked off at the Smokey Point Plant Farm June 13, with the one-mile run starting at 8 a.m. and the 5K run following at 8:30 a.m.

"We got 81 pre-entries, so we were already looking at a really good turnout before the event," Anderson said.

The festival also conducted its fashion show, June 16 at noon at Leifer Manor.

"We just want to thank everyone, in advance, for coming out to the festival and supporting it," Anderson said. "We all look forward to this festival, all year long, and every year, we're so grateful to the community."

The 2009 Marysville Strawberry Festival Talent Show will take place June 18 in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Auditorium, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the show starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission will be $5 at the door, with children under 7 being admitted for free.

The Funtastic Carnival will run until 10 p.m. June 18-19, until 11 p.m. June 20, and until 5 p.m. June 21. Carnival-goers should look for coupons offering discounts for June 18.

The Marysville Strawberry Festival Rose Planting Ceremony will take place June 20 at 10 a.m. at the Red Caboose at Fourth Street and Cedar Avenue.

A new event for this year, "Kids Party in the Park," will take place in the Totem Middle School outer courtyard June 20 from noon to 6 p.m. Ronald McDonald will be performing from 12:30-1 p.m., and from 1:15-2:15 p.m., the Marysville YMCA will be presenting Zumba for kids. The Marysville Performing Arts Centre will stage a 2:20-3:30 p.m. show, and the "Reptile Man" will follow from 4-5 p.m.

The Kiddies' Parade will kick off June 20, with registration outside of the Totem Middle School offices, located at the intersection of Seventh Street and Alder Avenue, from 4-5 p.m., judging from 5-5:45 p.m. and the line-up for the parade starting at 5:45 p.m., at the intersection of Seventh Street and State Avenue.

The 78th annual Grand Parade starts at 7:45 p.m., at the intersection of 76th Street NE and State Avenue. The post-parade fireworks display follows that same day, at approximately 10:05 p.m. in south Marysville.

2009 Marysville Strawberry Festival Schedule

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