The Tennessee Strawberry Festival celebrated 70 Berry Good Years
After months of planning and organizing the event, the Dayton TN Chamber of Commerce was rewarded by smiles of joy from both adults and children lining the street Saturday for the 70th Annual Tennessee Strawberry Festival Parade.
The highlight of the Tennessee Strawberry Festival has always been the parade. According to Strawberry Festival organizers, Saturday’s parade will go down as one of the largest in recent years.
Rain threatened the Festival as the week progressed. Light rain moved into the area late on Thursday night and during various times throughout the day Friday. Saturday morning skies were overcast but quickly turned sunny by parade time.
Jim Beam, of Eagle 97.1 FM radio station, served as the master of ceremonies as the parade entries rolled past the viewing stand. It was evident that a lot of hard work and preparations were put forth in decorating the floats with this year’s theme, “Birthday Berries-Celebrating 70 Years”.
The Festival originally was operated under the sponsorship of the Dayton Lions Club. It began with the purpose of giving the people of the community an opportunity to get together and enjoy a day of fun and festivities.
The sponsorship of the Festival changed in 1952 to the American Legion with the assistance of the American Legion Auxiliary. However, in 1956 the Festival was not held at all due to an absence of sponsorship.
The Festival has been under the direction and sponsorship of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce ever since 1957.
Saturday’s float winners were:
1st Place float winner for $500 went to Dayton City School with their “Berry Happy Bee-Day Strawberry Festival” float.
2nd place float winner for $250 went to New Union Baptist Church with their “70 Never Looked So Good” float.
3rd place float winner for $125 went to Calvary Baptist Church with their “Snail-ebrating this 70th birthday in the berry deep ocean with you” float.