strawberry festival general graphic, with rides, strawberries

It was a successful weekend at the LaSalle Strawberry Festival with higher than anticipated crowds attending the four-day event from June 9-12. Over 33,250 people visited the event at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex, up from an average of 25,000 per year. 

“It was fantastic to see so many people at the Strawberry Festival this weekend. We have all been looking forward to getting back to our traditions in LaSalle, and we are proud of this community event,” said Mayor Marc Bondy.

The event started with the annual tradition of cleaning strawberries for the weekend. Over 200 volunteers hulled and cleaned strawberries on Wednesday. Throughout the weekend, 370 flats of berries were sold along with 800 bricks of vanilla ice cream. The strawberries and ice cream sold out early on Sunday afternoon.

“The Strawberry Festival was an extremely successful event,” said Patti Funaro, Director of Culture and Recreation. “This was our first major event since February 2020, and the first Strawberry Festival since June 2019. This event would not be possible without the help of every department in the Town and with support from employees at every level.”

The revenue breakdown is not yet known. Town administration will develop the post-event report that will be presented to Council in the coming weeks. The revenue will be used to offset the cost to the Town to host the festival, support Life After Fifty for providing volunteers for the strawberries and ice cream tent, and Bike Windsor Essex who had volunteers to operate a bike valet service throughout the weekend. Any excess funds will be placed into reserves to support the festival in future years. 

The high admission numbers did lead to a couple of unexpected events on the weekend. There was one carnival ride that was shut down on Friday evening for a short period of time while LaSalle Police Service stepped in to control the crowd. In addition, due to the high number of visitors, admission was limited on Saturday evening at around 7:45 pm. In consultation with LaSalle Police Service, it was determined that the high attendance was causing congestion in the carnival area. To ensure that the crowd size would be manageable in case of an emergency, visitors were admitted once others left the park. Those in line were eventually allowed into the park.

This is the second year that the LaSalle Strawberry Festival has been held at the Vollmer Complex. In 2019, the Front Road area was experiencing overland flooding due to high water levels in the Great Lakes and Detroit River. When Council supported administration’s recommendation to move the festival in 2019 due to concerns of flooding, it was agreed that it would remain at the Vollmer until at least 2022. Following this year’s festival, the location will be reviewed based on the construction schedule for the development of the waterfront. The current plan is to move the festival back to the waterfront in future years.