MARYSVILLE – Marysville Strawberry Festival organizers celebrated the relocation of their new office with an open house.
Maryfest President Jodi Hiatt said people shouldn’t have trouble finding it – just head to the waterfront on First Street.
“Somebody asked me, what building?” Hiatt said. I told her, “The only building. There’s no other ones on the block.”
Specifically, the new location is the former Baxter Auto Supply at 1412 First St., now owned by the city of Marysville. For passers-by still not certain, the red and white-painted building with a large Marysville Strawberry Festival storefront sign are a sure giveaway.
With most of the building facade improvements completed, the office space, merchandise and wall of parade plaques and trophies in place, and the festival float parked in the garage bay, the organization was ready to welcome the some 60 or so visitors who stopped by for tours, barbecue, a raffle, music, photos with dancing berry mascot Jammer, volunteer award presentations, and details about the all-volunteer Maryfest.
Hiatt said the open house was also an opportunity to attract new members.
“We want the community to know that we’re out there promoting not just the festival, but the community and the wonderful people here,” Hiatt said. “We’d like to have more people join our organization and see what we really do.”
It’s a common misconception that Maryfest is only busy a couple months before the June Strawberry Festival, when actually the organization is year-round, attending other parades around the Northwest throughout the year with the Strawberry Festival float in tow, in exchange for those other communities’ floats appearing in Marysville’s parade.
Membership Chairwoman and board member Jennifer Hansen said, “You can become a member and support the festival, but you don’t have to volunteer if you don’t want to.”
Individual memberships are $25 a year; business memberships are $125. More details are available on the website at www.maryfest.org.
“Everybody has a talent that they need to share,” said board member Jodi Condyles, who found her own hidden talent last year when she helped build and decorate the festival float.
Organizers also used the open house to announce next year’s festival theme – social media denizens will like it, if you follow the meaning. The theme: #MarysvilleWa.
Tech-savvy Maryfest member Michelle Sato dreamed up the theme as a simple way to get people buzzing on social media about the Strawberry Festival.
“It’s an explicit way for us to promote our city, so we’re showcasing our city everywhere we go,” Sato said.
In addition, Sato said, the theme will span the generations as the festival looks to get more youth involved, and its unique-ness will set it apart from other festivals and “put Marysville on the map.”
What can people do right away to join in?
“Start posting,” Sato said. “Use our hashtag, Follow us on social media, Like us, share pages,” use our handles @marysvillestrawberryfestival on Instagram and @maryfest.org on Facebook, for examples.
Board member Art Maldonado spoke to visitors at the open house to remind them that the Strawberry Festival is committed to community.
“We’ve gotten great representation from people around the community tonight, and supporters, so we’re off to a great start,” Maldonado said.