This weekend we took another drive out to Poteet, but this time it was to attend the annual Strawberry Festival. It started out as a drizzly, grey day, but it slowly began to dry up and with it, the humidity arrived. But we made the best of the it with the bipolar weather South Texas has. Besides, I was on another mission to purchase more strawberries from Anachey Strawberries, which was one of the first things we did.
Anyways, back to the festival….. This annual festival is held in the heart of Poteet, a small town outside of San Antonio. This year it was held from April 5-7. If you purchase tickets online, they are $15 per person, $20 at the gate. Children under 13, military (active, reserve, national guard, and retired with a valid I.D.) are free. Carnival wristbands are available for $35. Grounds parking is free (though there are some off grounds places that do charge for parking, but trust me, there is plenty of grounds parking).
Besides the carnival, and of course being able to purchase some delicious strawberries (we purchased some from Anachey Strawberries a couple of weeks ago, check out the blog on that trip) there are many other fun things to do and see during your time at the festival.
Since we spent the day out there with Matthew, we did spend most our time at the carnival. Most carnival rides were between 4 and 6 tickets. Tickets are $1 a piece. We just bought a couple of sheets of 20. All food and rides require tickets.
Speaking of food, you will find the typical carnival foods. And while they are not at all good for you, they sure are good to eat. Throughout the day we had strawberry nachos (cinnamon chips with strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and almonds), funnel cakes, fajita tacos, and of course Chuck had a corn dog. Sure hope walking around the grounds today helped with burning off some of the calories.
After Matthew rode some rides we took in some of the various shows found throughout the grounds. We really enjoyed watching an illusionist/comedian. He did some great slight of hand tricks and kept the audience laughing. He included a lot of the children from the audience in his act. Matthew was given the opportunity to check out the rings to make sure there were no cuts or cracks. He was fascinated with the many tricks. I am sure he will try to attempt some at home.
There are also plenty of vendors to shop at. You can find everything from wooden furniture, to toys, to jewelry, to local honey, and much more. You can find something for just about anyone. In addition to shopping, food, carnivals, and such, there are also several concerts throughout the day. We had hoped to watch Aaron Watson, but we got tired of the humidity and left. But the fact that the concerts are included in the $15 ticket fee is pretty awesome.
Now for your history lesson: According to the StrawberryFestival.com website, the festival began in 1948 when the Poteet Rotary Club organized the event to provide returning World War II veterans a reason to return to the farms. The club also wanted to improve the pack of berries for buyers.
The purpose of the festival has changed over the years. Because strawberries are an endangered crop, the festivals main purpose now is to promote the strawberries grown in Poteet. The festival also awards scholarships to students in Poteet with the festival proceeds. Because the festival is now a tourist attraction, the local Poteet economy is boosted during festival time.
The nice thing about the festival is that you can spend as little or as much money as you want. It can be a tight budget event by just paying the ticket fee and maybe getting some water. Food and carnival rides don’t have to be purchased. There are plenty of shows and places to window shop that money isn’t necessary. If your budget is a little more, getting some tickets to ride some of the rides and get some carnival food can add to your experience.
We enjoyed the day at the Strawberry Festival and would definitely recommend that you attend it next year! Make plans for the first or second weekend in April to spend the day out there.