Strawberry Festival completes 40th year

The 40th annual Strawberry Festival was held this year from April 8-10 in Ponchatoula, to celebrate the region’s strawberry farming history.  Live bands, food booths and fair rides were all around for the large turnout.

“It’s a good event for our fraternity to come out and help the public and serve them with all the food and it’s just a fun family environment,” said Branden Summers, the recruitment chair for Delta Tau Delta.

A number of fraternities and sororities were on hand to sell strawberry themed food, for the public. Whether it be strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream or strawberry tea, the crowds could not escape the taste of strawberries.

“We’re selling strawberry filled beignets and the money raised goes to our philanthropy,” said Sigma Sigma Sigma member Torrie Augello.  “We’re all excited to be out here and we’re all having a really good time.”

Others, like Amanda Petitfils of Theta Phi Alpha and Aimee Dufreche of Phi Mu, shared the same sentiment.

“Basically we’re just out here trying to have a good time and [serve] people strawberry shortcakes,” said Petitfils, a junior art education major.

“We’re raising money for Children’s Miracle Network and we’re also raising money for these Thread’s of Hope bracelets to send one of our sorority sisters to Thailand,” said Aimee Dufreche.  Her sister plans to raise $5,000 to be able to go to Thailand and help those who are affected by and being used in human trafficking.

Greek Life weren’t the only ones selling food.  Ponchatoula, Hammond and Springfield high schools were all present in some form raising money.  Local chapters of Kiwanis, the Rotary and Boys Scouts of America Crew 703 offered gumbo, tea, popcorn, strawberry cupcakes and t-shirts.

Throughout the day, live bands played a variety of music to the Strawberry Festival attendees.  Lowery Amusement provided the rides, with a Ferris wheel, bumper cars and a merry-go-round to name a few.  

At the Strawberry Festival, the new Louisiana Strawberry Queen was announced.  Brooke Perrin, a native of Ponchatoula, was awarded the crown, along with Joseph P. “Joe” Perrin named the 2011 Ponchatoula Strawberry King.

“As a lifelong resident of Ponchatoula, it is an honor and privilege to represent my hometown as the Louisiana Strawberry Queen XL,” said Perrin.  “This title gives me the opportunity to be a spokesperson to promote and share my personal experiences about the Strawberry Festival and what a great event it is.”

For more information about the Strawberry Festival, visit their Web site at www.lastrawberryfestival.com.