Strawberry Festival returns in full force after pandemic layoffs

It’s baaa-ack!
Lebanon’s Strawberry Festival weekend is back with a four-day celebration Thursday through Sunday, June 2-5, after a two-year hiatus (other than some small drive-through-style observances last year that included cake and some cool decorative efforts by local businesses).
This year’s event is the real deal, with all the bells and whistles Lebanon residents are used to – and even a little bit more.
Following the coronation, the family-friendly festival and other events will feature: All Heroes Day on Thursday; the Junior Parade on Friday; the Optimist Pancake Breakfast, Strawberry Run/Walk, Grand Parade, strawberry shortcake feed and fireworks on Saturday; and a community church service on Sunday.
Live entertainment will be offered Thursday through Saturday, with Jo Dee Messina headlining on June 2, James Otto on June 3, and former Journey lead singer Steve Augeri on June 4 – leading up to the fireworks. Plus, a carnival will run all four days.
The Lebanon Strawberry Festival Association took some extra steps to make this year’s event more efficient and extra safe. They got rid of the parking fee – opting instead for an admission fee – so attendees don’t have to wait in traffic for a chance to get in (see page 8B). Extra security has been established and only clear bags will be allowed in the festival to ensure a safe and fun environment.
2019 Strawberry Festival Queen Maddy Romeo, who’s held the title for three years, will return to the festival to relinquish her crown on Thursday to whomever will be selected as the 2022 Strawberry Festival Queen. It will be a hard choice for the judges who have to decide between the group of girls on this year’s Senior Court. Each princess has a number of experiences and quirks that make them particularly charming, and you can read all about that in our special Strawberry Festival Weekend section.
And if you’re wondering why the Junior Court seems extra big this year, that’s because it is. It’s twice the normal size. Ashley Severns, a 2010 Strawberry Princess and the Junior Court chair (also known as a “princess wrangler”), said there are third-graders on the Junior Courtthis year alongside the second-graders because they didn’t have a chance to participate last year. Each Junior Court Princess will receive a $75 savings bond.