Stilwell, named for the creator of a railroad empire, is the county seat of Adair County in eastern Oklahoma, far outside of the boundaries of Elliot's mission. Too bad, because this coming weekend Stilwell will host a great event -- the 65th annual Stilwell Strawberry Festival.
The festival will have all kinds of fun activities. Early Saturday morning, runners will lace up their shoes for A Run for the Berries, with 5k and 1-mile run options. There will also be a parade and live music performances, including Susie McEntire, choirs from Stilwell High School and Middle School, and the Stilwell Community Choir. At noon, the winner of the Strawberry Queen Pageant will be crowned. Throughout the day, the Tired Iron and Standing Tall Antique Tractor Club will put on demonstrations on Division Street, and there will be a carnival, a horseshoe contest, and arts and crafts. Sounds like a great time.
But the most important part of the Strawberry Festival is the strawberries, of course. Despite last summer's extreme drought, which reduced this year's strawberry crop by as much as 50%, and a frost early in this year's growing season, festival organizers have assured that there will be plenty of red, ripe, strawberries. A number of local growers will have strawberries for sale at the festival. The festival will feature a strawberry recipe contest at noon, with champion strawberry awards and an auction at 2 pm.
As a huge fan of strawberries, I know where I'd like to be Saturday. For now, however, I'll have to be satisfied with a trip to the local farmers market while I dream about Oklahoma strawberries. Here's some great coverage of the strawberry festival from the Tahlequah Daily Press and a feature from the Oklahoman about Mother's Day strawberries, along with a video featuring a fun strawberry pizza. Delicious!