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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Plans begin for Monett Strawberry Fest

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunset over downtown Monett Oct. 27, 2010. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. tomorrow to make plans for the first Strawberry Festival in Monett. The session will be held at Denali Dreams, 404 E. Broadway, and all interested persons are invited to attend.

Shaun Bennett, owner of Denali Dreams and one of the main organizers of the Broadway Nights program, is spearheading the effort. Bennett would like to capitalize on Monett's history as the self-proclaimed "strawberry capital of the world," when growers from throughout the area brought their crop to Monett for shipment on the railroad.

Bennett is targeting the first weekend in June, 2011 for the festival. The date offers minimal competition from other activities, falling after Memorial Day and the weekend before the third annual Pierce City Arts Festival. The date also falls within the traditional strawberry harvest.

"We have experience from Broadway Nights," Bennett said. "We can incorporate what we've learned into one big event."

Activities with the festival could include a large car show, a crafts and art show with additional performance art, live music, children's rides, a petting zoo and other interactive entertainment. The entire event would take place downtown, as did similar celebrations in Monett's past.

"We'd like to incorporate as much of Monett's history as we can into the festival," Bennett said.

To capitalize on the strawberry theme, Bennett would like to see crafters offer creations around the berry motif. Contests may be organized for the best strawberry jams, pies and shortcake, like an old- fashioned county fair.

Having a presence by area orchards or fruit producers showing what they grow and related items would be encouraged. Bennett is also working on incorporating activities relating to railroad history.

"We want to look at this becoming a Monett tradition," Bennett said. "We want to make it big enough to draw people from across the area."

The key to having a successful festival is sharing the duties. Bennett hopes to see enough interested persons to divide the tasks. He sees vendors, promotion and specific activities all as focal points where a team of volunteers could coordinate together.

For additional information, call Bennett at 417-772-7092.

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