Strawberry Festival to be big event

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Monett's second annual Strawberry Festival will be held June 1 through June 2 on Broadway and adjacent streets. The big downtown event will feature more attractions and a full list of entertainment.

The Southern Fun Carnival has been added to the festivities, said Shaun Bennett, festival co-chairman with Donna Hammond. The carnival will set up in Fifth Street, between Broadway and Front streets.

The carnival will open Thursday evening with arm band night. For a $12 fee, all attractions will be available as many times as the arm band wearer wishes. The carnival has a tilt-a-whirl, a carousel and a variety of games offering prizes. Attractions will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Festival events formally kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday. Broadway will be blocked off to traffic from Fourth Street to Sixth Street parking lot. A 40-by-80-foot tent, courtesy of Weiser Tent, will be set up over the stage in front of UMB Bank, just east of the Fifth Street intersection on Broadway. Vendors will be setting up in the center of Broadway between Fourth and Fifth streets. Major food vendors will be set up in the Fifth Street intersection.

On Friday night, parking in the 300 block of East Broadway will be limited for the cruise-in. Owners of vintage vehicles are encouraged to bring their rides for viewing, from classic and muscle cars to trucks and bikes. Participation is free.

On Saturday, the 300 block will be reserved for a bike show, organized by the Chariots of Grace Christian biking club. A $5 entry fee is requested to participate in the show. Plaques will be awarded in sport, tour and custom divisions.

Vendors are bringing items made in Missouri emphasizing local skills. The craft items include jewelry, dresses, pillows and aprons, custom embroidery, engraved dog tags, head bands, knitted and crocheted items, afghans, shopping bags, tuts and flip-flops. Vendors are coming from the Springfield, Shell Knob, Cleve, Morrisville, Marionville, Cassville, Fairview and Lamar areas.

Food vendors will offer barbecue, pulled pork, cotton candy, caramel apples, funnel cakes, corn dogs, hot dogs, turkey legs, hamburgers, snow cones, popcorn and shaved ice.

Bennett said festival organizers have strongly encouraged vendors to use strawberries in their food products. The Monett Lions Club will have homemade strawberry ice cream. Bike show organizers will have strawberry shortcake available for a donation. Denali Dreams will have a booth offering strawberry smoothies. One booth will offer strawberry lime-aid.

Organizers hoped to have fresh strawberries available from local growers. The festival is scheduled in the middle of the traditional picking season. Bennett said the availability of fresh berries will depend on the weather and rain during the coming week.

Denali Dreams will host a 20-scoop ice cream sundae-eating contest at 6 p.m. on Friday, using strawberry ice creams. There will be an entry fee of $7.50 to participate. A prize will be given, and the winner will have a photo added to Denali's Hall of Fame.

Special festival features will include the strawberry bake-off, sponsored by UMB Bank, on Saturday. Registration forms are available at the bank at Fifth and Broadway. Sign-up continues until 5 p.m. on June 1. Food items need to be brought to the bank on Saturday morning.

The ceremony to crown the Petite Strawberry king and queen will take place between 9 and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Registration forms can be submitted up until 5 p.m. on Friday, June 1, at Denali Dreams.

The Monett Kiwanis Club has organized a duck race for 6 p.m. on Saturday. Numbered plastic ducks will be for sale up to Saturday afternoon. The race will be held on a makeshift waterway on Fourth Street, powered by Monett Fire Department fire hoses.

Live entertainment is scheduled during both days. Audience members are asked to bring lawn chairs.

For additional information, call Bennett at 417-772-7092 or visit the event website at .

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