Marysville Strawberry Festival underway despite late berry season

The sights and sounds of the Marysville Strawberry Festival are back after a two-year break due to COVID-19. Visitors to the festival enjoyed music, carnival rides, shopping and strawberries. 

However, the key ingredient has been harder to find in 2022.

"Our first preference is always to get berries from the local growers, because they do such a fantastic job of getting them ready, but sometimes the elements just don’t work out for us," said Doug Buell, Entertainment Coordinator for Marysville Strawberry Festival. 

Growers say a lack of sunshine has delayed the peak time for picking.

"This year’s crop is a little late. It’s a little green. If we could have moved our event to July, that probably would have been a lot better," said Buell.  "But the strawberries are always worth the wait when they do get here and in the meantime, we do what we can to celebrate with the strawberries we can get our hands on. "

Mike Biringer, the owner of Biringer's Berry Farm, says some early varieties of berries have started to ripen, but overall, the season is about two weeks behind. 

"Everybody is always excited to bring home a big flat of strawberries," said Angelique Rose, an employee of Biringer’s Berry Farm. 

On Thursday, the farm's berry patch in Arlington opened to u-pick customers and other shoppers who were eager to get their hands on what was available in the store. 

"Everybody is just really happy to have the berries finally in, and they have plans for jams and jellies and all that homemade stuff we love around here," said Rose.  

The Crystal Masonic Lodge #122 has been serving up strawberry shortcake at the festival for around 15 years. Fortunately, the staff members at Crystal Lodge's strawberry shortcake cart had ordered their berries long ago.   

"We had them all from the grower.  We order a year in advance most of the time, so we make sure we have enough ready for us," said Damion Stephan, Secretary Treasurer for Crystal Lodge #122 in Marysville Washington. "We also supply the festival itself with the berries for the strawberry shortcake eating contest." 

Despite the impacts of the weather, it hasn't dampened spirits for those at the festival.   

"This is the life-blood for so many communities, having their big annual festivals to kick off summer. So, this one means a lot to us," said Buell.

The festival continues this weekend and includes the Strawberry Festival Twilight Grand Parade Saturday evening.  There is also a carnival, located at Marysville Middle School. The festival runs through Sunday, June 19.