Not one, but two Quad-City region communities are saluting the strawberry with festivals this weekend.
The 2008 Long Grove (Iowa) Strawberry Festival will be Sunday, and the first Country Corner Strawberry Festival will be Saturday and Sunday near Alpha, Ill.
Here are details on each event:
Activities get under way at 9 a.m. and continue through 4 p.m. Sunday at the traditional annual festival in the northern Scott County community.
The Strawberry Stampede races begin at 9:15 a.m. and include a quarter-mile girls run, a quarter-mile boys run and a one-mile run.
The cooking contest begins at 10 a.m. on the south side of the community building. Categories include desserts, salads, drinks, miscellaneous and a special entry for children younger than 13 years. All items must be made using strawberries and should include the recipe.
Steve and Cheryl Arp, who are retiring as teachers at Alan Shepard Elementary School, will serve as grand marshals of the annual strawberry festival parade.
Parade participants are asked to line up on North 1st Street at 10:45 a.m. The parade begins at 11:15 a.m.
The fourth annual Strawberry Festival Pageant will begin at 12:15 p.m. behind the community building.
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Categories are: Baby Berry Costume Contest, open to children younger than 5 years; Little Miss/Mr. Strawberry for kindergarten and first-grade students; and Junior Miss/Mr. Strawberry for second- and third-graders.
Entry forms may be picked up at the Scott County Library in Eldridge, Iowa, or Long Grove City Hall.
Other events at the festival include a basket raffle, a beanbag contest, relay races, a trivia contest, a quilt show, children’s games, a petting zoo, pony rides, wagon rides, an antique tractor display, Sod House tours, singers, dancers and food vendors.
The first Country Corner Strawberry Festival will be Saturday and Sunday on U.S. 150, two miles north of Alpha in western Henry County.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The festival will feature Farm Fresh Fun activities for children from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
There will be a Cow Train— a string of barrel cars shaped and painted like cows — that will provide rides around the festival grounds.
Festival goers also can have fun with Corn Cannons— a chance to shoot ears of corn up to 500 feet.
In addition, there will be a jumphouse, a barnyard zoo, hayrack rides, a farm store and plenty of strawberries — to eat or pick right off the plants.
Admission and parking are free, but there will be a charge for most events.
For further information, contact Bruce Curry at (309) 629-2359.