CHASSELL?- It’s a tradition that’s been going on for 65 years and in just under a week will be the start of the 66th Annual Chassell Strawberry Festival.
Lions Club Past President Pam Hiltunen said the festival is the longest running one in the State of Michigan.
There will be about 22 different vendors at the festival offering a variety of things for sale.
“It’ll be a good time,” Hiltunen said.
One of the things Hiltunen has encountered while helping to organize the festival is the generous nature of people in the Copper Country, citing one woman who offered to help design the T-shirts free of charge.
“I had no idea of all the talent around here,” Hiltunen said. “All these people offered to help. It just lifted my spirits. It’s just a wonderful experience. Without the people who have helped me it just would have been a daunting task.”
While the crowd favorites will all be back, like the parade and seemingly endless amounts of strawberry shortcake, this year will also feature something new: a 5K/2K Fun Run at the Chassell Trails near the Chassell Heritage Center. The proceeds of the run will benefit Simple Kindness for Youth, which helps young people build and maintain self-esteem.
“I have 92 registrants at this time,” Hiltunen said. “I’m excited about it.”
Hiltunen said the Lions Club thought the run would be a nice addition to the festival.
“There’s a lot of focus on fitness now and we want to encourage anything that promotes family togetherness,” Hiltunen said. “That’s why it’s a 2K and a 5K. People that do a lot of this kind of activity can participate and those who are novices.”
Registration for the event costs $20 for adults and $10 for kids 14 and under.
“It’s a reasonable price because I wanted to encourage participants,” Hiltunen said. “It does include a T-shirt.”
Registration for the run begins at 7 a.m. Saturday and the run begins at 8 a.m.
“We did schedule it early, but it will be cooler,” Hiltunen said.
Plus the early time allows people to be back in time for the parade at the 11 a.m., which will include a $100 prize for a “Best in Show” parade.
For more information about the festival, visit coppercountrystrawberryfestival.com.