Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

Strawberry Festival continues to grow

At the end of a fun-filled day during the 4th Annual Strawberry Festival, Gabrielle Stevenson, of Lake City, holds up a strawberry for a photo opp, while her son, Wyatt Green, sporting an elephant face painting he received at the festival, gladly eats his strawberry. -SVT Photo

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By Tami Stevenson

The world’s love for strawberries can be traced all the way back to ancient Roman literature during the first century A.D.

Because of their bright red color and intoxicating taste, legend has it that when two people split a strawberry, they will fall in love.

We thought readers might enjoy a couple more interesting facts and myths about strawberries, since the 4th Annual Strawberry Festival, by Buckler Promotions, held at the fairgrounds in Live Oak on February 24 and 25, was so popular visitors packed the coliseum and Armory parking areas all weekend.

The history of the love affair with strawberries goes beyond taste, it was, and still is today, used for many medicinal purposes.

The entire plant was known for its healing properties. The roots, leaves, and fruits were used as a digestive aid and skin tonic.

The berry was prescribed for diarrhea and digestive upset, while the leaves and roots were supposed to relieve gout.

The berry itself was rubbed on the skin to ease the pain of sunburn and to relieve blemishes. The juice of the strawberry has its own special powers, it is supposed to brighten discolored teeth.

Strawberries are among the first fruit to ripen in the Northeast. Unlike some fruits, strawberries do not continue to ripen once picked.

And finally, the strawberry plant, along with its good friend the raspberry plant, are actually members of the rose family.

Buckler Promotions event organizer June Font said Saturday, “It’s been a great day. We’re loving it. People came out in droves and we’ve really enjoyed it.”

She also said they had plenty of strawberries this year and never ran out. The car show was larger and they had about 25% more venders than last year, over 110.

They had a plethora of food vendors for visitors to enjoy that one-of-a-kind carnival food, pie eating contests, pony rides, bounce houses, a petting zoo, face painting, games and other activities for kids. They even offered monster truck rides in the arena. Many of the vendors travel with them throughout the season and offer unique merchandise.

For anyone that missed the fun this year, plan on bringing the family to next year’s strawberry festival where there is something for everyone.

Buckler Promotions, Inc. is based out of Deltona, Florida and holds six strawberry festivals each spring.
“We’re gone for six weeks, maybe home two nights a week (during strawberry season). But it’s really worth it,” added Font. “We really enjoy what we do.”

Inside the coliseum during the 4th annual Strawberry Festival. -SVT Photo

This was a familiar sight at the festival. -SVT Photo

These kids’ rides were very popular at the festival and kept the driver busy all day. -SVT Photo

Six year old Tango, a bloodhound from Suwannee Correctional Institution, along with two K9 officers, got a lot of attention during the festival. Briauna Bias of Fort White, front left, along with Evelyn Buckland, back left, told of how they missed their bloodhound that passed away. Right - Briauna’s Grandmother Stella Catrett. -SVT Photo

The line for their “to die for” strawberry shortcake stayed busy all day. -SVT Photo

Ten-year-old Kamorian Hutcherson, from Lake City, on the bungie jump. -SVT Photo

BJ from Fantasy Fudge hands out free samples of their delicious fudge. -SVT Photo