Aria Lam, 5, and Raymond Lam were among the 8,000 who attended the Saanich Strawberry Festival Sunday in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)

Aria Lam, 5, and Raymond Lam were among the 8,000 who attended the Saanich Strawberry Festival Sunday in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich serves up virtual Strawberry Festival

Residents invited to look back on 54 years of festivals

The District of Saanich is calling on residents to share their memories and photos from Strawberry Festivals gone by as the 2020 event goes virtual due to COVID-19.

This year’s Strawberry Festival was scheduled to take place on July 12 but was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic so Saanich is taking the event online.

Aside from making strawberry sundaes at home this year, current and former residents are encouraged to take part in the Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services Strawberry Festival contest. Participants can submit their photos, quotes, stories and other memories from the past 54 years of Strawberry Festivals using the online entry form which is open until July 5 at midnight.

The goal was to “come up with a virtual event that captures the history of the Strawberry Festival,” explained Rob Phillips, community event programmer for the District of Saanich.

Once all the submissions are in, Saanich staff will compile the memories into a video presentation to be shared with the community on July 15, Phillips explained. He added folks who’ve been volunteering at the event for decades are contributing to the film and the Commodores Big Band has provided music as they’ve played at the festival for some 30 years.

Phillips hopes the film captures the event’s long history, brings back memories for residents who’ve attended the festival for many years and gets newcomers excited for future festivals.

The Strawberry Festival began in 1966 as a way to celebrate the local farming community, he said. It transformed over the years but has remained a community-focused, family-oriented event that now draws crowds of more than 8,000 – all seeking a delicious strawberry sundae served by local celebrities, members of parliament, MLAs, and councillors.

Contributors will also be entered into a draw to win one of three prize packages which include everything the winners will need for Strawberry Festival 2021 along with a few extra treats. Each prize pack includes a beach chair, beach blanket, cooler bag, Saanich water bottle, 10 tickets for strawberries and ice cream for the 2021 Strawberry Festival, 10x Saanich Recreation Pass, one round of golf at the Cedar Hill Golf Course, $50 Saanich gift card and a $25 gift card from Pepper’s Foods – to purchase strawberries and ice cream for homemade sundaes, of course.


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