Strawberry Fest to include changes

Lebanon’s 114th annual Strawberry Festival, themed “Peace, Love and Strawberries” will be held June 1-4 with expanded hours this year.
The Strawberry Festival Association is doing a couple of things differently, including a route change for the grand parade and a new park attraction.
This year, in a step back into history, the parade will begin downtown at Rose and Main streets and run south to Pizza Hut, at South Santiam Highway and Market Street.
One of the main reasons for the change to a north-to-south direction is due to traffic and safety concerns at Walmart, where the parade has started for years, said Strawberry Festival Board of Directors Chairperson Cindy Kerby.
A new attraction at Cheadle Lake Park includes a Family Land interactive area, with a variety of entertainers for the littles. Comedian juggler Alex Zerbe, musical entertainer “Washboard Willy,” circus performers from Circus Imagination, and a water play area will be at Cheadle Lake Park to provide a range of activities for children.
For adults, musical entertainment will be provided during the first three days of the festival, starting with Jessie Leigh on Thursday night following the All Heroes Day award presentation and Festival Queen coronation. Headliners on Friday and Saturday include Eagle Eyes and Diamond Rio. See schedule below.
Other highlights include Strawberrian Bob Elliott as the grand marshal, train rides to the festival made available through Santiam Excursions, the annual flower show (a tradition of the festival since 1909) and a strawberry shortcake eating contest (with a special competition between police and firefighters, and different branches of the military).

The Strawberry Festival Junior Court, with 2022 Festival Queen Laurel McGuigan (photo courtesy of Kimberly McGuigan

Eight young ladies on the 2023 Strawberry Junior Court were bestowed their sash and tiara at The River Center on April 6.
2022 Strawberry Festival Queen Laurel McGuigan, center, was the Master of Ceremony, while 1961 Princess BettyLou Rockwell presented the Junior Princesses with a rose and charm.
The Junior Court is, from left, East Linn Christian Academy Princess Avery Knipstein (parents Corey and Lacey Knipstein), Cascades Princess Emalee Anderson (parents John and Sarah Anderson), Sand Ridge Charter Princess Harper Sandman (parents Jeff Sandman and Katie Bryan), Pioneer Princess Josephine Birch (parents Nicholas and Justine Birch), Lacomb Princess Kayslie Urrutia (parents Josh and Kacey Urritia), Riverview Princess Mabel Sausser (parents Rebecca Sausser and Brent Love), Hamilton Creek Princess Olivia Flowers (parents Michael and Jennifer Flowers), and Green Acres Princess Zoey Hicks (parents Stanley and Kassie Hicks).

The 2023 Strawberry Festival Senior Court includes, from left, Makayla Lewis, Chloe Juntunen, Alyssa Baker, Lauren Wyatt and Libby Jorgensen (photo provided by Lebanon Strawberry Festival)