Monday, May 17, 2010

Tennessee Strawberry Festival 2010

On Saturday, Grandmomma, Geggie, Sophie and I went to the
Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Dayton, Tennessee. I had never been before and was excited to experience a festival dedicated to a food I love!

Dayton, Tennessee is about 40 miles north-east of Chattanooga. You may be familiar with Dayton if you've studied U.S. History. It is famous for being the location of Scopes vs. The State of Tennessee, otherwise known as the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Arts and Crafts vendors were set up on the courthouse lawn. If you needed hair bows, necklaces or soap, this was the place to get it. There was also a stage for various performances throughout the festival. Behind the courthouse was a children's area with a train ride and inflatables. On 2nd street, adjacent to the courthouse were the food vendors. Roasted corn, corn dogs, funnel cakes, and who knows what else could be found on this street. Of course there were strawberries--strawberry lemonade and strawberries skewered and dipped in chocolate!

When we arrived in Dayton, we decided to park in the first place we came to: Smith's Crossroads. It ended up being about a mile from the courthouse, which isn't really a bad walk. Unless you are 6 months pregnant...or have a fractured foot and wearing one of those boot thingies...or you're pushing a stroller through a crowd assembled for a parade who are clogging the sidewalk so you have to walk in the road...while it is hot. So not a bad walk really.

By the time we made it to within a few blocks from the courthouse, the parade had already started. There was still room on the side of the road to walk, so we kept going. Then about 50 fire trucks, police cars, and such drove by. Honking horns. Blaring sirens. In my baby's ears. She didn't like that. Finally, we came to a point where there just wasn't anymore room to move. It happened to be across from the courthouse by the General Store. There also happened to be a tree above us to give us shade, so we parked the stroller and watched the parade go by. And watched... And watched... It was a big parade! Other than the fire trucks, police cars, Methamphetamine Task Force vehicles, and D.A.R.E floats, there were also Shriners, Red Hat Ladies, School Bands, Political Candidates, girls in dresses with tiaras, people on horses, and my favorite, a few guys with a boa constrictor stretched across their necks! I think all of Rhea County was in that parade. The strawberry festival is a big deal!

We finally made it to the courthouse lawn to see the vendors. After walking around for a while we were ready to leave. We kept seeing people with baskets and flats of strawberries, and we wanted to buy some to take home too. Unfortunately, they were sold out, but we were told to check Paul's Produce on our way out of town. So we walked the mile back to our car, which was easier this time because the road was cleared by then.

Watching the Parade on Grandmomma's shoulders

Strawberry Cotton Candy

"My Turn!"

When we got to Paul's Produce there were just a few strawberry baskets left. Grandmomma and I each bought a 4-quart basket. I gave Sophie a strawberry as a treat, she had been so good at the festival. She inhaled it and for most of the ride home she would say, "Strawberry Mommy, pweeease?!"

Paul's Produce‎
174 Iowa Avenue
Dayton, TN 37321-1680
(423) 775-5151‎

Our basket of berries...after we've eaten a few.

I enjoyed our time at the Tennessee Strawberry Festival, but here are a few things we will keep in mind next time:

1. Get there early in the day. You probably won't have to walk a mile, but even if you do, it won't be as hot.

2. Buy strawberries first thing. They go fast on parade day. Stopping at Paul's first might be a good idea too.

3. If you are going to watch the parade, find a good spot early and bring your lawn chairs.

4. Bring your own fan. It's May in Tennessee and it is hot and humid. You'll also need sunscreen and maybe a hat and sunglasses.

5. Have fun! We are celebrating strawberries after all!

I came home with a lot of strawberries. I have BIG plans for these babies. So get ready for Strawberry week here at A Girl In Her Kitchen.


Ashley said...

It's nice to see another Tennesseean cooking up a storm on blogger :)

Jaylee Elsea said...

Thanks for coming to our place for strawberries