Despite a rainy Friday, a bustling Thursday kicked off this year’s London Strawberry Festival, which organizers hope will close out with an eventful Saturday.
“Last night we had a good sized crowd for a Thursday,” said Kevin Stockham, one of the event’s organizers. “The rides were bustling, our strawberry shortcakes sold well and food vendors seemed pleased.”
Highlights Thursday included live music by the band Smoke and Mirrors on the new Strawberry Stage, the opening of the Miss Strawberry Pageants and apparently bourbon chicken by Cajun-style food vendor Louisiana Grill.
“People were lining up for that one up until close,” said Stockham. “When everyone else was closed up, they had a line until 10:30 [p.m.] way past everyone else.”
Hours of rain slowed down the festivities Friday to a standstill, with most vendors closing up shop early. Still, for the few festival goers, some merchants and food stands stood out in the inclement weather so attendees could still enjoy shopping for leather, bourbon chicken, Texas tenderloins and other treats for most of the day.
A London native himself, Stockham says the great variety of food is a reason alone to come to the festival, calling it a great opportunity to try new things.
More importantly, he said that Saturday will be jam-packed with events.
Saturday’s festival kicks off with the baby contest at 9 a.m. A 5k run will start at 10 a.m.
Around the same time the London AC COBRA show at the courthouse square will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Stockham says set up of the classic cars can take time, so he said 10 a.m. is prime time to see them.
A motorcycle show will start at 5 p.m.
Live music with a variety of Madison County and other area bands will start on the main stage at noon with West Jefferson’s Second Chance followed by Through the Red from Grove City at 3 p.m. The next show is the 7 Mile Bluegrass band on the Strawberry Stage at 6 p.m. and London’s Smokin Ham Band on the main stage at 8 p.m.
A parade will also be held at 4 p.m., which will be followed by the crowing of the festival queen.
The festival will close for the year at 11 p.m.