ELMWOOD, Ill. (WMBD) – After 32 years, Elmwood’s Strawberry Festival continues on.
The sweet event, decorated in ruby red is designed for celebration and bringing the community together in the wake of summer. However, this year’s festival-goers saw some changes to the event Saturday.
Adam Little, head of the festival’s committee, said the impact of the coronavirus changed the original plans for the event, but regardless they were going to celebrate it in some capacity.
“This year definitely looks a lot different than it did last year,” Little said. “With the COVID shutdowns, we couldn’t have the full festival like we would traditionally do.”
The classic train rides, car shows, and outdoor vendors were substituted this year for outdoor seating at local restaurants and smaller group gatherings. However, Little said the event still brought people out and he saw them having a good time.
“We still have a good light-hearted atmosphere and there’s still a lot more people out having fun,” Little said.
Despite the changes, the festival regulars, like Michelle Seipel, still showed up hunting for strawberries. Seipel said she’s come to the event every first Saturday in June for years and will continue to do so.
“I went to Toots Treats and got some strawberry ice cream with my kids,” Seipel said. “So I went and got that so I’m hitting up all the good places.”
Little said it’s been 10 years since a tornado hit the city in 2010 and this year was supposed to showcase what the city has done to come back from that. Christina Bean, co-owner of Beans Family Market, said this year’s festival means something a little deeper.
“Hope, faith, friends, love,” Bean said. “We’re out here doing this because we love our customers, we love the town and we love our neighbors.”
Little said local restaurants have had hundreds of orders for Strawberry pizzas this year. He said they’re going to combine the ideas they originally had for this and put them towards next year’s event to make it even better.