Marysville celebrates Strawberry Festival

MARYSVILLE — The final weekend of the 79th annual Marysville Strawberry Festival drew large and steady crowds in spite of weather that turned dark and damp on its final day.

The Totem Middle School campus proved to be a hotbed of activity June 19, between hosting the “Kids Party in the Park” from noon to 5 p.m. and serving as the staging grounds for the Kiddies Parade that kicked off at 6 p.m.

This marked the Kids Party in the Park’s second year, and while it included fewer vendor booths than its first year, it attracted even more than last year’s estimated total of 700 children who stopped by during the course of the day.

“The grounds were full with attendees all the way back from the stage,” Maryfest Advertising and Marking Director Genie Brovold said.

Kids Party Director Linda Farrington credited much of the early turnout to Ronald McDonald and Scott Petersen, the Monroe-based “Reptile Man,” who returned to the Kids Party for a second year with several cases of scaly companions in tow. However, she noted that significant numbers of onlookers stuck around for stage demonstrations by the Marysville Performing Arts Centre, the Marysville YMCA’s Zumba for Kids program, and the instructors and students of Arlington’s Trinity Martial Arts.

The Venture Church of Marysville provided the sound system, while Lakewood’s Boston Market Pizza ran out of its free pizzas early. Home Depot invited kids of all ages to color tiles, even as members of Rising Stars Gymnastics in Marysville demonstrated some moves while they waited to sign up for the Kiddies Parade.

Kiddies Parade Director Kim Mease admitted that this year’s turnout for the event was down from the 40 entrants who registered last year, which she attributed to the day’s increasingly cool and cloudy skies.

In the costume category, frog prince Gabriel Bacon and his sister, princess Seraphina, took home first place, while first place in the wheels category went to honey bee Isabella Spidell and her wagon of flowers. Junior pirate Logan Smith and his dog Luca took took honors in the pets category, while Rising Stars Gymnastics danced away with the top prize in the group category. The Marysville Cooperative Education Program’s sunny beach scene was named the best float, while Kaidence and Sequoia Alpine got to ride in the Grand Parade as the overall winners of the Kiddies Parade for their sand castle float.

“We had a little more diversity in our costumes this year,” Mease said. “It’s a good opportunity for kids to show off and dress up when it’s not Halloween.”

The Grand Parade on State Avenue boasted more than 120 entrants this year, with the first drops of rain holding off until the fireworks show at 10 p.m.

Audrey Charles’ group of 13, including six grandchildren and their friends, were anxious to see the Seafair Pirates in the parade, and had already gotten their fill of train rides and funnel cake at the Arts and Crafts Market in Asbery Field earlier that day.

For the third year in a row, Joey Stokes loaded detached car seats and a small couch onto the back of his pickup truck to give his friends and family an elevated view of the parade.

“The best part is just getting together and hanging out here with friends,” Stokes said. “It’s just good times on Main Street.”

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