BELLEVILLE, Mich. — Food. Fun. Rides. The 41st annual Belleville National Strawberry Festival was a great way to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday.
Over the weekend, temperatures hit 80 degrees with partly cloudy skies and just a few sprinkles. It was cooler than last year’s scorching temperatures when it was in the 90’s.
“This is really awesome, it’s a really nice town,” said attendee Michael Stinnette of Ypsilanti, Mich. “This is my first time eating the strawberry shortcake. It’s really good. Anything to do with your dad out in the sunlight.”
The fairlife milk exhibit was one of the new additions to the festival. Visitors could sample different varieties of milk and take a photo with a giant glass of milk and a cookie.
“I like all of the stores around, I like how some of them play music and get free samples like milk,” said Danielle Pryor from Fraser, Mich. “We got strawberry shortcake. Maybe go on some rides. Hint. Hint.”
Her sister, Gabby Pryor, added: “I just like seeing all of these shops with such interesting items. It’s really cool. It’s some good milk. I got Italian Ice and that was also really good.”
Artist Donna Peterson introduced me to her line of jewelry made out of rocks.
“I actually dig, cut, polish and shine natural gemstones from the earth,” Peterson explained. “Nothing on the table is dyed. I make it all by hand. From start to finish, it takes about an hour and half to two hours. You can go to different areas like Montana, Kentucky, Arizona to find different colors. I talked to a lot of people. Some people don’t know what I am selling. I like gemstones like the next girl but I’m sort of partial to rocks now.”
I enjoyed a strawberry shortcake with ice cream known as “the works” at Myrtle Lodge No. 89 on Main Street. Boy was it yummy!
“It’s a fun time for the whole family and a nice town,” said attendee Derrick Manley of Riverview. “I like strawberry shortcake. We get along really well.”
The White Tiger exhibit returned to the Strawberry Festival once again this year.
“The weather was nice which drew out a lot of crowds on Saturday and Sunday afternoon,” said Joan Bodnar, the festival’s executive director. “The parade was wonderful. The Shriners did their little performance. We even had the Clydesdale horses. All in all, it was another great year for a parade. Sponsorship is always hard to get, but we maintain our usual.”
Later on, I visited the 16th annual Cinnamon Father’s Day Car Show at Victory Park.
“This is a 1962 Volkswagen dune buggy,” said car owner Rob Schram. “I put all of the leather on it an carpet, radio and everything in it. Scooby Doo reminds me of the old movie Speed Buggy. I just ride around with him on the back.”
Jack Ostrander won an award for his 1955 Chevrolet Nomad. It will be one of two cars featured on next year’s official car show t-shirt.
“I built the motor and did the interior, glass, wheels and tires,” he explained. “It has an 8-71 blower, 350 motor and 700 RPM transmission. I didn’t do the customization.”
For more information about the Belleville National Strawberry Festival, visit http://www.nationalstrawberryfest.com/