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Preparations underway for the 39th annual Strawberry Festival

OWEGO (WBNG) — Owego’s Strawberry Festival kicks off in just a month, but preparations have been underway for quite some time to make the festival bigger and better than in previous years.

The event started in 1981, now marking 39 years of strawberries. The 2019 Strawberry Festival takes place June 14 and 15.

“We started out, it was just like a glorified sidewalk sale and people sold strawberries and we had a little entertainment and it was a very low key thing. The next year a little more, a little more, then we had a parade, and it’s grown into this two-day event now,” said festival chairperson, Pat Hansen.

Because the festival continues to grow each year, the preparations get more and more intensive.

“We have to muddle through permits, we have to muddle through. We have to make all the neighbors happy. We have to bring everything together. I start in October,” said festival co-chairperson Wendy Post.

While some farmers say the weather hasn’t been great for strawberries to grow, organizers are not too worried. They say they’re in good shape with just 30 days to go.

“I was looking at last year where I was at and we’re pretty much on track with where we’re at last year, except we’ve doubled in size,” said Post.

Those who attend each year can expect to see more across Owego. Organizers say there’s double the vendors this year, and another street is being blocked off.

The theme for the event is ‘Strawberry Legends’.

“Owego is a legendary town. There’s so much history, so much to see here. We try to keep current and keep the past,” said organizer Donna Day.

It’s meant to bounce off of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, bringing in artists who performed at the original event.

“They’re going to bring that energy and vibe with them,” Post said.

While new things are added over the years, the core message of the strawberry festival remains the same.

“Get your fill of strawberries and lots of fun,” Hansen said.

For a full schedule of events, click here.

Annie Flaherty

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