The St. Vrain Historical Society Hosts 47th Annual Strawberry Festival

Celebrate a little bit of Longmont’s history with the St. Vrain Historical Society’s 47th Annual Strawberry Festival Antique Show Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.

Shop over 80 dealers from around the Rocky Mountain region for: fine and costume jewelry, furniture, art, toys, antiques and much more. After an afternoon of treasure hunting, stop by the café and grab some lunch prepared and staffed by the St. Vrain Historical Society (SVHS) volunteers. This year the SVHS staff will be serving up tasty barbecue sandwiches, drinks, and of course, strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream provided by Longmont Dairy. The event will also host an art show, bake sale and free parking.

Admission is just $5/person, and children under 12 are free. Admissions and café concession sales earned at the show directly support the St. Vrain Historical Society, a local nonprofit whose mission is to preserve the heritage and history of Longmont and the surrounding St. Vrain Valley and to provide historic education for the community. The SVHS manages historic properties in Longmont including: Hoverhome and the Hover Farmstead, Old Mill Park and St. Stephen’s Church. For more information about the St. Vrain Historical Society, click here.

The annual Strawberry Festival features over 80 antiques and collectible dealers.

The Strawberry Festival dates back to 1871, when East Coast philanthropist, Elizabeth Thompson (1820-1899) came to Longmont for the dedication of the newly erected Library Hall. Mrs. Thompson donated money for this building, which became the state of Colorado’s first library, 300 books, 3,000 prints and engravings and she also purchased 20 “memberships” in the Chicago-Colorado Colony (Longmont’s original name) for families who needed a new start. In 1899, a Boston reporter even referred to Thompson as the “founder of Longmont.” Thompson Park in Longmont’s historic Westside neighborhood is named for her.

The dedication of Library Hall was planned as the Strawberry Festival because of the popularity of the fruit on the East Coast where Thompson lived. The city ordered strawberries via railroad to be brought in, but unfortunately they never arrived. Longmont housewives got to work scouring their pantries for canned and preserved strawberries as a substitute. Nonetheless, the festival was a success and featured entertainment, speeches and a “magnificent banquet.”

Women in Longmont’s strawberry fields between 1900-1920. Photo: Longmont Museum & Cultural Center Archives.

Fast forward 100 years to 1971 when Longmont was celebrating its centennial anniversary. The St. Vrain Historical Society decided to sponsor a special antique show & flea market to celebrate the occasion and commemorate the Strawberry Festival. 45 antique and collectible dealers were in attendance at this first revival of the festival held that year in downtown Longmont’s Roosevelt Park.

Today, the Strawberry Festival has developed into a modern-day community tradition, attracting many from all across Colorado. Now held at the larger, more spacious Boulder County Fairgrounds, the show boasts over 80 antique & collectible dealers from Colorado and surrounding states.

The Strawberry Festival will be at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd., on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, May 21 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information on this year’s festival, click here or visit the SVHS Facebook page.

Strawberry Festival T-shirt created by Old Town Outfitters, 501 Main Street. T-shirt and Cover Photos: Blake Hendricks.

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