Rain, revelry greet Strawberry Festival

Police Chief Frank Stevenson gives Taz a giant bone after Officer Eric Stein gave Taz permission to take it.

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Thousands of people didn’t let a little Oregon weather rain on their (grand) parade as they lined Lebanon streets under a healthy downpour Saturday, June 4, to watch the Strawberry Festival floats pass by.
Even Matthew Grudzinski, who stood shirtless on the corner of Oak and Main streets, said nothing would stop him.
“It’s Oregon,” he said. “You gotta enjoy the rain or you won’t have fun.”
The 113th “Strawberry Vacation” Lebanon Strawberry Festival, held June 2-5, featured some of its newer traditions, including Heroes Day, entertainment from such names as country superstar Jo Dee Messina and erstwhile Journey frontman Steve Augeri, and fireworks, in addition to the well-rooted traditions of coronation, big parades and free slices of the contested “world’s largest strawberry shortcake.”
The festival kicked off with a celebration of such city heroes as Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan, Lebanon Police Department Detective James Glover, plus Officer Eric Stein and K-9 Taz, Lebanon Fire Marshal Ken Foster and volunteer fire department support person Rockie Wilkins.
The Edward C. Allworth Veterans Home honored resident care manager nurse Lisa Sheets, as well as Navy veteran and resident Jeri Payne, who, according to Recreation Director Megan Eddy, always makes sure there is joy. Linemen Curtis Krell and John Ongers of Pacific Power, as well as linemen Eric Williamson and Tim Moore of Consumers Power, were also celebrated for their work.
The 2019, 2020 and 2021 Strawberry Princesses returned to welcome the 2022 court and usher in Laurel McGuigan, who would officially open festivities as the Strawberry Queen. Maddy Romeo, who was crowned queen in 2019, held the scepter until this year because the COVID-19 pandemic, which began the following spring, prevented a subsequent festival. That gave her, she said, a long time to reflect on what the court meant to her.
“It reminds me to always be thankful for every special moment,” Romeo said.
She believes it’s a lesson the public has also taken to heart, considering the unusual, tough conditions of the last three years. Such unconventional circumstances gave the 2020 and 2021 courts opportunities to be lights for the community.
“All of these princesses who are here tonight were selected for a reason,” she said. “They represent this festival with grace and pride.”

2022 Strawberry Festival Queen Laurel McGuigan declares the festivities open on Thursday, June 2.

Before McGuigan declared the festivities open, Princess Clarissa Lewis won the Miss Congeniality award, an honor bestowed by the current Strawberry Court for being the most friendly and outgoing. Each princess received a $1,750 scholarship from Entek and the McDaniel family. Additional scholarships came with other distinctions: Miss Congeniality ($500) and the Strawberry Queen ($1,000).
Friday’s big event was the Junior Parade, which highlighted 38 entries from organizations, schools and families. An estimated 2,000 promenaders from 103 entries in Saturday’s Grand Parade walked up the city’s central vein.
“We were really excited, for having been on hiatus for two years,” Grand Parade coordinator April James said. “It was good to get back in the swing of things.”
Five generations of a family, with 1948 Princess Eileen (Norman) Duncan at the head and 3-month-old Adalynn Gates as its little caboose, gathered to celebrate the family tradition.
Duncan let it be known that she was a “country hick” at the time of her princess-hood, but she still received 393 more votes than the city girls to represent Lebanon on the Strawberry Court which, at the time, consisted of royalty from different Linn County cities.
The fair – with its carnival rides, corn dog and funnel-cake hawkers, vendors of handmade goods, and entertainment spotlights – was sprawled across the Cheadle Lake Park grounds. The 200-plus volunteers who pieced the festival together after a two-year lapse succeeded in welcoming an estimated 20,000 visitors.
With the new procedure of charging for general admission instead of for parking, travel time to spots was smoother, but the line to purchase entrance tickets was occasionally long enough to deter some would-be festivalgoers.

McGuigan passes out free strawberry shortcake to festival attendees at Cheadle Lake Park on Saturday, June 4.

“We saw cars that had come into the parking lot and were just driving across the field to leave,” said Allouette Hummer, of Albany. “We saw people get out of their cars, walk up to the line and leave. I think the line was a hindrance for a lot of people.”
But those who’d pre-purchased tickets online didn’t wait as long, and Hummer was determined to bring her family regardless because, first of all, it’s tradition, and secondly, she had prepaid carnival rides she didn’t want to go to waste despite the weather.
The Strawberry Festival Board had indicated that one reason for the admission fee was higher costs, which included the bigger entertainment talent. Several attendees said they came for Jo Dee Messina, and $10 was a fair price for that alone.
Brandi Carlson, of Eugene, said she tries to visit the festival every year, but this was the first time she came for the concert.
“I like the small-family feel of it,” she said of the festival. “(And) you guys always have good vendors.”
Her husband, Michael, said his favorite part is eating the strawberry shortcake.
As the weekend came to a close, word spread that several wallets were returned to lost-and-found with money still inside. Festival volunteer Shyla Malloy announced her gratitude to the “amazing” community that proves most people are good. Even her 16-year-old niece’s lost wallet, which contained $250 in cash, was returned untouched.
So despite the rain, extra fees and a few “snafus,” according to Strawberry Fair Board Chairperson Cindy Kerby, the return of the city’s most popular festival was a success.
“I mean, you can’t do a festival without having some hiccups, but it was good,” she said.



Animals: “Toby and Penny on Vacation,” by Gus Barnes and Libby Pointer 
Business/Organization: Gillott Home Team
Church: Trinity Baptist Church
Club/Team: Freedom Football
Floats: Strawberry Festival Junior Court
School: Lebanon High School marching band
Wheels/Walkers: “ Strawberry Excursions,” by Alex and Madison Rainey
A.J. and Ida Berry Choice: Lebanon High School cheerleaders
Jr. Court Choice: Penelope Swan, 2022 Teen Rodeo Champions of America, Oregon
Mayor’s Choice: Twisty and Family
Queen’s Choice: Masog cousins and parade moms
Sweepstakes Award: Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam


A.J. and Ida Berry Choice: Gillott Home Team
Antique Autos: 1, Gene Suing; 2, Jason Hawthorne
Classic Auto: 1, Rollin’ Oldies - Carol Hood; 2, Jesse Bowles
Courts: 1, Strawberry Festival Junior Court; 2, Strawberry Festival Senior Court
Horses: 1, Hand in Hand Farm; 2, Penelope Swan
Large Commercial: 1, Wilco Farm; Store, 2, Caldwell Realty
Mayor’s Choice: Scalawags
Misc.: 1, Magic Carpet
Non-commercial: 1, For The Boys; 2, McKenzie View Acres
Nonprofit: 1, Enchanted Willow Dancers; 2, Scalawags
Queen’s Choice: Scalawags
Small Commercial: 1, Northwest Carving Creations; 2. Gillott Home Team
Sweepstakes: Northwest Carving Creations



Nearly 200 runners finished the Strawberry Run/Walk 5K Saturday, June 4, on the Strawberry 
Festival Grand Parade route before that event took place.

The 5K was won by former University of Portland runner Peter Allegre, in 15:10.42. Allegre, 23, 
now a student at COMP-NW, finished ahead of Graham Gingras, 25, also of COMP-NW, who 
ran 16:45.85 in the field of 196 finishers. Robert Kennedy, 18, of Lebanon, was third in 17:21. 
Emily Sitler, 28, of Lebanon, was the first female, followed by Camille Carlisle, 25, of Lebanon 
(22:30.85), with Lisa Scheirman, 44, of Monmouth in third (23:28.44). L. Flesher of Sacramento, 
who is 9, finished eighth overall, in 20:53.81. The first master finisher (over 40) was Steve Hiett 
of Sweet Home, who ran 21:45.31 to finish 16th.

The overall winner among the 137 finishers of the one-mile event was 15-year-old Atyden 
Salvatierra of Albany (6:15.92), but J. Simmons of Lebanon, 11, was the first non-teen in, 
finishing in 6:22. Keanan Raybould, 13, of Lebanon, was second (6:31), followed by C. Garber, 
10, also of Lebanon (6:35). Emily Buck, 13, of Salem, was the first girl in, in 7:41. Aubrey Miller, 
13, of Lebanon, was second in the female division, in 8:03.


This year’s flower show had 125 floral and design entries. It was hosted by Lebanon Garden Club and held at Santiam Place. Blue ribbon and rosette winners are as follows:


Rosettes/Top Awards for Each Category
Horticulture Excellence: Kacy Woodley
Roses: Lynne Neuman
Perennial: Angela Blackburn
Biennial: Gloria Locke
Lily: Sheryl Casteen
Sweepstakes (most blue ribbons): Renata Stanko
Design, “Disneyland”: Renata Stanko
Design, “Sunset Cruise”: Renata Stanko
Design, “Desert Trek”: Renata Stanko
Design, “Beach Retreat”: Renata Stanko

Special Rosettes
Queen’s Choice: “Niagara Falls” design by Renata Stanko
Strawberry Chair Award: Orange tea rose, Linda Boyd
Flower Show Chair Award: Pitcher water plant, Kacy Woodley

Princess Choices: Red tea rose, Barbara Williams; Bearded iris, Sally Skaggs; Clematis, Sharon Swoverland; “Silver Creek Falls” design by Angela Blackburn


Section A: Roses
Hybrid Tea: Linda Boyd, Linda Boyd, Mary Reeder, Lynne Neuman
Floribunda: Sally Skaggs
Climber: Lynne Neuman
Polyanthus: Joli Root
Peace Rose: Mary Reeder
Miniature-1 bloom: Kacy Woodley, Sally Skaggs
English: Linda Ziedrich
Any other worthy rose: Gloria Locke, Lynne Neuman, Linda Ziedrich

Section B: Perennials
Peony: Linda Boyd, Sharon Swoverland, Sheryl Casteen
Iceland Poppy: Angela Blackburn
California Poppy: Ailene Eby
Dianthus: Ailene Eby
Any other: Joli Root, Barbara Williams, Barbara Williams, Cindy Ongers, Angela Blackburn

Section C: Iris
Bearded: Kacy Woodley, Cindy Ongers, Sally Skaggs
Siberian: Cindy Ongers

Section D: Lilies
Calla: Sally Skaggs
Any other: Sheryl Casteen

Section E: Biennials
Snapdragon: Gloria Locke
Foxglove: Cindy Ongers
Pansy: Mandy Scott

Section F: Annuals
Any worthy annual: Kacy Woodley

Section G: Flowering shrubs and trees
Rhododendron: Linda Boyd
Mock Orange: Lynne Neuman
Any other flowering shrub: Sally Skaggs

Section H: Vines
Clematis: Sharon Swoverland
Any other vine: Mary Reeder

Section I: Herbs
Cut herb specimen: Mandy Scott

Section K: Succulents/Sedums
Planted Containers: Barbara Williams, Ailene Eby, Kacy Woodley

Section M: Water plants
Kacy Woodley


Floral Arrangements
“Yellowstone Park,” Renata Stanko
“Disneyland,” Renata Stanko
“Niagara Falls,” Renata Stanko
“Butchart Gardens,” Renata Stanko
“Sunset Cruise,” Renata Stanko
“Road Trip,” Renata Stanko

Miniature Design
“Route 66,” Sarah Brown
“Redwoods,” Sue Spiker
“Desert Trek,” Renata Stenko

Small Design
“Beach Retreat,” Renata Stanko
“Mountain Hike,” Sarah Brown

Novice Design
“See the USA,” Sarah Brown

“Gardening Safety,” by Beth Moyer