The 82nd Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival was a huge success Friday and Saturday.
The National Weather Service in Nashville gave a special Strawberry Festival briefing, which included thunderstorms and strong winds Friday and Saturday; however, neither materialized and the Strawberry Jam and fireworks show went forward with beautiful weather. The excellent weather continued Saturday, and a very large crowd came from all over the Middle Tennessee area to enjoy the festival.
The Portland Chamber of Commerce promoted the festival with billboards in Nashville and with appearances and commercials on local television stations. The Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival website was packed with information for those interested in coming to the festival.
The website included festival information, which included a schedule of events, history of festival, and a list of area strawberry farms. The site included an interactive festival map to inform visitors with locations for such things as vendors, events, transportation, entertainment, restrooms, and hospitality areas. There was also an app that could be downloaded on both an iPhone or an Android. In addition, the site included information about free parking and the availability of the shuttle.
“We are excited that we had another successful Strawberry Festival. As always, we have ideas to continue to make it better; and we look forward to the additions and changes we have for 2024, as we start planning for next year,” events coordinator Kristen Daughtry said. “Our community had over 400 people this week serving in different capacities to make this festival happen, and we are thankful for everyone.”
The festival is more than the Friday and Saturday events. It began May 5 and 6 with the third annual Strawberry Quilt Show at Richland Gym. May 6 included the Strawberry Festival Pageant at Portland High School. Saturday ended with the Strawberry Slam Wrestling Event at PHS.
On Tuesday, May 9, the Strawberry Golf Tournament was held at Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Course, and the carnival arrived at Richland Park. Wednesday, the Portland Public Library had a story time in the afternoon. Thursday, the Portland Farmers Market held its grand opening and the second annual Strawberry Festival Art Showcase was held at Richland Gym. In addition, Shrek played at The Temple Theatre.
A large crowd arrived for the Strawberry Jam concert with Rubiks Groove, which was followed by the fireworks display on Friday evening.
The main festival day was Saturday, May 13. It began with the Portland Rotary Pancake Breakfast at First Baptist Portland and the Strawberry Stride 5k Walk/Run at Portland High School. The Portland History Museum was open all day and served strawberry cake and featured entertainment by Billy Knight Music. The Temple Theatre was open for tours during the festival, and many took advantage of the opportunity to see the renovation of the theatre,
There were 250 vendors in six different areas, and KidTown USA was open until the parade time. There were Robocar demonstrations, Bingo, and a magic show at various times during the day. The parade began at 4 p.m. and did not disappoint those lining the streets to watch. The carnival was open late for people to enjoy after the festival.
“Very thankful for the Portland community and how it rallies together to make this festival so wonderful for so many people,” Portland Mayor Mike Callis said. “I thank the good Lord for the beautiful weather and look forward to next year.”
The dates for the 83nd Annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival’s Strawberry Jam Concert and fireworks is May 10, 2024 from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm. The main festival day will be May 11, 2024.