About 150,000 people attend 40th annual Belleville National Strawberry Festival

BELLEVILLE, Mich. — An estimated 150,000 people braved the 90-degree temperatures for the Belleville National Strawberry Festival over Father’s Day weekend. It’s an annual tradition in the Wayne County city.

An estimated 1,500 pounds of strawberries were expected to be sold or consumed at the festival. It’s safe to say that amount was surpassed. Strawberries pies were sold out by early afternoon at Trinity Episcopal Church, just off I-94 and Belleville Road.

“I just like looking at the booths and seeing a couple of people from Ypsilanti here,” said attendee Brandy Mohacsi. “It’s good to catch up with them because I just graduated and I haven’t seen them since.”

One of my favorite places to enjoy a strawberry shortcake is at Myrtle Lodge No. 87, at the corner of Main and High streets. They also offer the works, which is a strawberry shortcake that includes ice cream.

Car owner Tim Couch won the “Best of 70’s” award for his 1973 Pontiac Trans Am at the annual Cinnamon Father’s Day Car Show at Victory Park.

“It’s great, meeting new people and looking at the cars,” Couch said. “It’s a 350, 4-barrel, 300-horse. It’s just a car I wanted to build and I’ve been working on it for about nine years. I customized the engine, chrome and a different style interior.”

The festival’s executive director, Joan Bodnar, said all vendor booth spots were sold out this year.

“They’re not new, they’ve been here before, but we do have the White Tiger exhibit and we have Chobani yogurt giving out samples in the middle of Main Street,” Bodnar explained.

Meanwhile, Tom Edic introduced his frozen wine company called D’Marie. He offered samples to attendees as they strolled along Main Street.

“You just start with a bottle of wine–it can be red or white wine,” Edic said. “You take wine, water, our mix–that’s what we sell, mix it up and throw it in the freezer for about three hours. Each box makes about a gallon. It’s been great. The people here have been awesome.”

Wood artist Sue Anderson traveled all the way from Pennsylvania to show off her works. She sold Hawaiian-themed lawn signs that are perfect for lakefront homes.

“We hand make all of our items,” she explained. “I have a couple of women who basecoat for me and then I do the detail work. We work all day in the shop and travel around on the weekends. The sales weren’t bad. The heat hurt us a lot, I think. People didn’t venture out, but we did alright.”

The Strawberry Festival featured two midway ride areas for the little ones. The first on Main Street and the other at St. Anthony’s Church.

“It’s pretty nice, a little warm out, good to see all of the vendors out,” said attendee Todd Rizzo. “I like the food and the crafts. We usually get a strawberry pie from one of the vendors.”

For more information about the Belleville National Strawberry Festival, visit www.nationalstrawberryfest.com


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An estimated 150,000 people attended this year’s Strawberry Festival, according to executive director Joan Bodnar. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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The Trinity Episcopal Church is one of five locations that make up the footprint of the festival. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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One of two midway areas for the little ones. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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Chobani passed out free yogurt cups to attendees. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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Tim Couch won the “Best of 70’s” award for his 1973 Pontiac Trans Am. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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