Five-year-old Anna Vincent holds up her dessert at the Deer Lake Strawberry Festival, which kicked off last night at Deer Lake’s Bowater Field. — Star photo by Paul Hutchings
DEER LAKE With brand new booths and more strawberries than last year, the 30th annual Deer Lake Strawberry Festival kicked off Friday night.
All the usual rides for the kids were installed on Bowater Field throughout the week, as well as food servers, games and information booths for the adults. Charities were set up to collect donations, with one even going so far as to embarrass its participants with a dunk tank and another to shave an Elwood High grad’s afro-wrapped head.
But it was all in good fun as dignitaries spoke to crowd, welcoming them to this year’s event. Mayor Dean Ball and MHA Dwight Ball made an appearance, as well as MP Gerry Byrne. MHA Vaughn Granter also spoke to the crowd of over 500 at the field. Provincial NDP Leader Lorraine Michael spoke as well, stating it was her eighth visit to the Deer Lake Strawberry Festival.
In the middle of the field is a laser tag area for kids and the beer tent is near the stage. Huge blow-up slides are at the other side, along with a new pirate ship structure never used here before.
“We had less volunteers than we had last year but everyone really managed to pull it off,” said Strawberry Festival executive Amanda Freake. “Everyone really stepped up this year and did such a great job.”
Native drummers helped kick off this year’s event as well as other musical acts. Over the weekend the Lodge Humber will host its Strawberry Festival brunch Saturday morning and the annual Kiddie Parade will begin at 12:30 p.m. The gates at Bowater Field will open at noon both Saturday and Sunday.
The main event takes place Saturday night, with a performance by country singer Tara Oram. The evening will include an appearance by Shaun Majumder and opening act Craig Young and is hosted by television personality Casey Clarke.
It’s the first time the festival has had a headline concert as part of its schedule.
The festival closes Sunday night. For more information visit the Town of Deer Lake’s website.