I’ve been fortunate enough over the years to be in Pasadena many times during the strawberry festivals. I love when I am there to join in the festivities. Years ago my father‘s strawberries were on display and sold during the event.
While Finlay’s U-Pick was in operation my three sons and I spent the busiest time of the season there, helping my father. It was a special time and the boys learned a lot from all the customers and from my dad. I, too, learned from our wide customer base. I also learned a lot from and about my father.
I remember one time when my father offered the boys $7 a drill to get them to weed the strawberry plants. Of course, they were anxious to get at it but soon got bored. They thought they could make a lot of money but found out differently. It is not that easy to stay on your knees, plucking weeds in the hot sun. It takes quite a while to do a drill of strawberries, if you do it right! My father was watching them like hawks so they quickly gave up. Then they tried their hands at picking berries at 25 cents a basket and soon tired of that as well.
One summer during the strawberry season, when Cordell, my youngest son was 13 or 14, he wanted to go to Grand Falls to see Bon Jovi. We decided to go on a bus, so I left my car near the TCH with thousands of dollars in the back trunk. But I didn’t have to worry because we have very honest people in Pasadena!
The strawberry festivals had several events that my sons were interested in, especially when they made new friends and got to eat some of the fast food provided. They liked playing Bingo and running around all over the field. Eating at Aunt Madeline’s was always an added bonus, of course.
For me, it was always about seeing all my old friends who were all there with their children. We had long chats sitting in the ball field. At times various artists sold their work or someone else sold it for them. I have a number of pieces that I covet from that time. I wasn’t lucky at Bingo or ticket draws, but I know the money raised went towards the needs in the community.
The games and the music were the highlights, as most people were in a great mood and it is always nice to see your friends at their best. I saw fathers and grandfathers with their children or grandchildren on their shoulders. Baskets of beautiful sweet strawberries and other items were sold. Square dances with couples dressed in colorful costumes were great to watch during different festivals. Residents enjoyed seeing all the visitors from away who had once lived in the community. They enjoyed having a drink together.
In later years I’ve stayed with my Aunt Madeline and got the inside scoop on what was going on and when it would happen. Each year her children and grandchildren looked forward to the strawberry festivals with great anticipation. My cousins helped out with the festivals so I got to see it all from their eyes as well.
If you get a chance to attend a strawberry festival in Pasadena, go for it. It is certainly a nice way to get to know the residents and to know what they value. It’s great to plan your holidays around the festival since so many people are back home after years of working away. A lot of planning goes in to each festival so you won’t be disappointed. Call up someone at the town office and get the details on the next festival so you won’t miss it.
The two photos above were taken during the 2010 festival
Credit: Photos used with permission from photographer Marilyn Wheeler-Murphy