Sunny weather returned just in time to provide a bright and warm four days for Mattituck’s 65th Annual Strawberry Festival hosted by the Mattituck Lions Club. Held over Father’s Day weekend, the event attracted thousands of locals and tourists alike to enjoy fun rides, live music, local vendors, and of course fresh strawberries. Lion’s members, assisted by their youth branch the Mattituck Leo’s, worked tirelessly to make the multi-day spectacle another rousing success.
Festivities began last Thursday evening on hulling night which saw many dedicated local volunteers arrive to prepare the thousands of strawberries used in the classic treats served by the Lions each year: strawberry daiquiris, strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, and chocolate-covered strawberries. All items—including quarts of fresh strawberries—were for sale throughout the weekend.
Friday evening kicked off the official opening of the festival. Adults and children flocked to the fairgrounds to ride carnival attractions at sunset, share in the inaugural strawberry delicacies, and spend time with friends, family, and fellow community members. As nightfall came, the crowd gathered together to watch the fireworks display that marked the end of the first day’s festivities.
The Strawberry Festival continued throughout the weekend with multiple special events to accompany the rides, food, and socializing. Many local vendors and organizations were also present such as Kait’s Angels, the North Fork Animal Welfare League, and Tate’s Bake Shop.
Saturday saw the crowning of the newest Strawberry Queen, Myah Orlowski of Mattituck, who succeeded the previous Strawberry Queen, Teagan Nine. Gabrielle Finora of Laurel won runner-up. Later, the Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest took place featuring professional eaters from around the world as contestants. The timed contest proved to be an impressive display of strawberry enthusiasm. In the end, last year’s second place winner Geoffrey Esper took first place for 2019 by eating over seventeen pounds of shortcake in eight minutes.
Saturday night ended with a grand finale fireworks display that lit the sky with glowing colors. Sunday allowed attendees the chance to stock up on final purchases of strawberry foods before bidding the Strawberry Festival farewell for another year.
Along with being a celebrated community tradition, the Strawberry Festival is one of the biggest local fundraising endeavors. The Lions donated proceeds from the event to multiple local charities including the Guide Dog Foundation based in Smithtown, Peconic Bay Medical Center, the Lions Eye Bank, and others. The Strawberry Festival allowed guests to experience an unforgettable weekend and to support these worthy causes at the same time.
Mattituck Lions 65th Annual Strawberry Festival offered something for everyone to enjoy and left attendees with a perfect start to summertime on the East End.