Marysville celebrates Strawberry Festival | SLIDESHOWS

MARYSVILLE — Overcast skies that opened up in the afternoon might have quelled some enthusiasm for some events on Saturday, June 16, but spirits stayed strong for the Marysville Strawberry Festival’s climactic weekend this year.

Marysville’s Khoosnam Commissariat brought her daughter Ava, 19, and son Cyrus, 14, to this year’s Funtastic Carnival in the Marysville Middle School playground, as she has done for the past decade, and the mother even beat her two kids at one of the games to win a prize.

“I like all the games and the rides,” Khoosnam Commissariat said. “I just love that Marysville has something like this.”

The Portland Royal Rosarians also paid their compliments to the Marysville Strawberry Festival during their rose-planting ceremony in the Totem Middle School rose garden at 3 p.m. that day, which saw Maryfest President Debbie Libbing honored with the planting of Royal Rosarian roses to commemorate the latter group’s 100th anniversary this year.

Aivars Saukants, royal gardener for the Portland Royal Rosarians, explained that his group travels across the Pacific Northwest to bestow similar honors on various festivals throughout the region, and cited his own connections to the local community.

“We’re always glad to be here in Marysville,” Saukants said. “I’ve personally planted three of these roses with my fellow Rosarians, in 2007, 2010 and again this year. I even remember when this ceremony took place at the ‘Red Caboose’ just a few blocks south of here, before its tragic demise. It’s gratifying to see that while the fire may have soured a few of the roses, they’ve still grown wonderfully well on the whole.”

While that Saturday saw more sparse traffic at the Marysville Kiwanis Beer Garden on Seventh Street north of the Market in Asbery Park, it was bustling the day before, on Friday, June 15.

“I don’t know if it’s the weather or what today,” Marysville Kiwanis Treasurer Mike Ferri said on June 16, just before the rain began to fall. “We didn’t know quite what to expect anyway, this being our first beer garden and all.”

“People came in, sat down and just visited with each other,” fellow Marysville Kiwanian Penny Ploeger said. “We’ve even been able to offer a nice wine tasting, thanks to John Bell’s Willis Hall Winery.”

In spite of the full-on downpour that had let loose by its 5 p.m. judging, that Saturday’s Kiddies Parade drew so many participants that they had to huddle under the eaves of Totem Middle School as shelter from the storm before marching down State Avenue at 6 p.m.

“Even though everyone got wet, we all still had an amazing time,” said Bobbi Easley, who organized the Kiddies Parade for the second time this year. “Families still took the time to participate, and all the entries were pretty creative.”

Brooke Klein, 5, was named this year’s overall winner for dressing up as Strawberry Shortcake, a costume that she’d worn last Halloween.

“It fit the theme of the Strawberry Festival perfectly,” said Stephannie Claphan, one of the volunteer judges. “Plus, she was energetic and had a fresh new look.”

By the time the Kiddies Parade entrants had been judged in Comeford Park, the precipitation had dwindled to a few drops, allowing audiences to enjoy a mostly dry Grand Parade from 7:30-10 p.m., which managed to pack in more than 140 entrants this year.

Debbie Hjort and her daughter LaRosa, 19, didn’t trust the clearing skies and remained bundled under their shared blanket on the sidewalk.

“It’s always exciting and fun,” Debbie Hjort said of her family’s 15th Strawberry Festival Grand Parade. “It gets better every year. We’re sad that there weren’t any trike races this year, though. Hopefully they’ll be brought back for next year.”

While Lauren Riley, 6, enjoyed sitting on her father’s shoulders to watch the action and expressed her fondness for the sweets she got to eat that day, dad Mark Riley was content to soak up the atmosphere.

“I like being part of a community that does things like this,” Mark Riley said.


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