(Posted May 4, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison County’s first festival of the summer season is back after a year off due to COVID-19.
The London Strawberry Festival is set to take place June 24-26 on the streets of downtown London. Organizers are busy securing entertainment and vendors and finalizing the schedule. Visitors can expect to enjoy many of the festival’s traditional features, albeit with some adjustments to account for pandemic safety protocols.
“We plan to have a full slate of vendors. We will have music and entertainment like we normally do, and rides and inflatables. We will have a beer garden again and the parade,” said organizer Kevin Stockham.
Fewer bands will perform this year to allow time for breaks between acts. The breaks will eliminate congestion in the stage area during transitions, allowing for social distancing. In years past, bands played back-to-back. Stockham said the karaoke contest is a no-go this year due to the logistics of sanitizing shared microphones between contestants.
Breaks are planned for sanitation of rides and the inflatables in accordance with state guidelines. Additionally, hand sanitizer and sanitizing stations will be set up throughout the festival area.
The Ohio Cobra Club plans to hold its annual car show in conjunction with the festival on June 26. The group cancelled its show last year due to the pandemic. New this year, the club hopes to participate in the festival’s parade. Normally, the club sets up on North Main Street, displaying cars and giving rides for donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, before heading back to Columbus mid-afternoon, well before the parade. This year, they are going to stick around. Festival organizers likely will change the parade time from 5 p.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate the club’s schedule.
Another schedule change involves the baby contest, which is being moved from Thursday to Saturday to coincide with the queens pageant.
“The schedule is a living, breathing piece of paper at this point,” Stockham said. “We’re in the process of finalizing it. There’s a lot of stuff we’re doing last-minute because we were waiting to hear what the state had to say about festivals and fairs this year.”
Ever since the state gave the greenlight, Stockham said his phone has been ringing.
“We had 25 to 30 inquiries from vendors just in the last week,” he said.
If the weather cooperates, Stockham expects a good turnout at the festival.
“People have been cooped up for 12 to 13 months, and they want to get out. I think all of the fairs and festivals will do well this year,” he said.
For more information, to volunteer, or to become a sponsor, call Kevin Stockham at (614) 668-1936 or Holly Stockham at (614) 668-2411, or send email to London_Strawberry_Festival@hotmail.com.