The 78th annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival was a huge success with 35,000 to 40,000 people lining the streets of Portland to enjoy the event.
This year’s Berried Treasure theme added to the enjoyment of those attending. Pirates were everywhere and the parade featured several floats designed to represent pirate ships. Captain Jack Sparrow was the grand marshal for the parade.
President/CEO of Portland Chamber of Commerce Sherri Ferguson said, “We had a great festival even though it rained on our parade. The floats were amazing this year. The addition of the North Russell vendor area was a great way to spread it out.”
There were several events beginning in May for the community. First was the National Day of Prayer Breakfast which was held at First Baptist Church. The annual Strawberry Pageant, the Strawberry Slam Wrestling, the Strawberry Golf Tournament and the carnival all led up to the Saturday main festival day.
Festival Day was full of activities for everyone including the Strawberry Stride, the Rotary Pancake Breakfast, KidTown USA, and the annual mascot race. The Sumner County Worship Choir sang before noon. Many vendors and food trucks were spread about town with new locations available this year along North Russell.
Even though it rained during the parade, it has been described as one of the best in years. The pirate ship floats added to the festive theme Berried Treasure. Following the parade was the free concert featuring Lee Gibson. The festival ended with a gigantic fireworks display. Over 2000 people used the shuttles which began at Portland High School and dropped off at First Baptist Church.
The parade winners were: Grand Champion - Volunteer Recycling; 1st place float - Freebird Memorial Ride; 2nd place float (tie) - Macy’s Logistics & Operations and NASG; 3rd place float - Shoals Technologies Group; Most Creative Float - Christ Apostolic Church; Most Realistic to Theme - Graphic Obsessions, Pallet Barn TN and Circle M Farms; and Most Unique Vehicle - 3D Blasting.
Kristen Daughtry - events coordinator for the chamber said, “This year’s Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival was the best yet. Even despite rain during the parade, it was an amazing day. At our ‘Where are you From’ booth, there were visitors from 33 US States and seven countries.
“The Portland Chamber of Commerce organizes and markets the festival, but it would not be possible without the partnership with the City of Portland, the local non-profits who organize events and different aspects of the festival, our army of volunteers and of course, all of our sponsors and business partners.”