– The thunderstorms that tore through the Triangle last Friday gave way to a picture-perfect weather for the Cleveland community’s biggest event of the year, Saturday’s Strawberry Festival.
Tens of thousands visited the rows of tents, music stage and play area as children enjoyed games, adults enjoyed an auto show, local businesses did a little promoting, and of course, local growers sold buckets upon buckets of bright red strawberries. The event was started by the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce in 2000.
Shortly after repeatedly being launched dozens of feet into the air on the bungee trampoline, Cindy Straka said her family comes “pretty much every year.”
“It’s a great community event,” Straka said. “It’s good for the businesses. People come out and really enjoy themselves.”
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The entertainment opened and closed with some local country music flavor. Clayton artist Wade Hill opened at 9 a.m. while Johnston-native Amanda Daughtry, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., ended her set around 3:30 p.m. Performances by dance groups, a martial arts studio and other musical acts filled out the docket.
While some had come to Strawberry festivals past, many new to the area were attending their first. Tim Stillinger, who arrived to the area in November, said he had been there for three hours as he watched his young daughter Maurizia go down one of the inflatable slides.
“For her it’s great. And the strawberries look good,” he said.
The event typically generates about $40,000 on a budget of about $25,000 according to chamber member Jonathan Breeden. The figures for this year were not available early last week. The chamber uses rough estimates for crowds but believe the event draws 25,000 people per year.