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article imageWhitchurch-Stouffville to hold 29th annual Strawberry Festival Special

By Katie Ryalen     Jun 27, 2013 in Lifestyle
Whitchurch-stouffville - What started as a small, community festival is now a well-loved family tradition. Whitchurch-Stouffville, in Ontario's York Region, holds its 29th annual Strawberry Festival this weekend.
With a population of less than 50,000, the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville prides itself on preserving the rural and agricultural lifestyle from which it originated. But each Canada Day weekend the town experiences an influx of people—as many as 30,000 over the entire weekend—as visitors flock to the town's annual Strawberry Festival.
"We're growing," says the festival's chair, Shaen Armstrong. "For example, we have 280 vendors this year which is not only a record for us but is a growth of 60 new vendors over last year."
The Strawberry Festival began 29 years ago through the efforts of local businesses. Since then its popularity has increased with the addition of games, tournaments, music, carnival attractions and market stands.
"This weekend is for all family types," says Armstrong. "It is a great way to celebrate Canada Day and enjoy the best things about summer and family fun for all ages ... and a strawberry or two."
Social media has certainly helped increase the festival's popularity. "As of last year [we are] really promoting [our] new website, Facebook and Twitter feeds," Armstrong adds.
Despite its growth, though, the Strawberry Festival remains true to its humble beginnings. Armstrong explains: "The objective is to always maintain the roots of the area with a rural thread but weave in the new as each year brings in new generations. The amazing thing about this event is that it is run purely by volunteers of all ages and supported by sponsors."
Each year, the town closes down a portion of its Main Street for the event. Special features this year will include a sports clinic, which will provide various demonstrations, as well as a car show. There will also be evening performances by a number of musical groups including What About Bob and The Blackboard Blues Band.
Dalia Bakhoum, a resident of Richmond Hill, remembers her visit last year to the Strawberry Festival fondly.
"It's a great family event," she says. "There are lots of things for kids to do. And for the adults, there are all kinds of hand-made and specialized goods to buy, entertainment, performances ... there's something for everyone."
When asked what her favourite feature about the festival was, she answered, "The strawberries. Definitely the strawberries. There are strawberries and cream, strawberries and ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream. It's just a big, long street full of juicy, delicious strawberries. What other reason do you need to go?"
The Strawberry Festival kicks off this Friday, June 28th, with its opening ceremonies set to begin at 6:30 p.m., and will run until Canada Day Monday. With the exception of the evening entertainment, admission is free.
More about whitchurchstouffville, stouffville, Strawberry festival, Festival, Family fun
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