KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Cassie Whalen of Suffern was 11 months old when she visited the Mattituck Lions Club's Strawberry Festival last June. Maybe this year, she'll stay awake.
The 58th annual Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival promises to be the biggest — and perhaps the best — yet, with fireworks scheduled not only for Friday’s opening night, but on Thursday night as well.
Thursday is traditionally “hulling night,” when volunteers gather under the big tent at Strawberry Fields on Route 48 in Mattituck and prepare the juicy berries by taking off their green-stemmed tops. The carnival will offer free admission that night, opening at 6:30 p.m. and closing at 10 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m.
Opening night begins at 5 p.m. Friday, kicking off the festival with virgin daiquiris, shortcake, dipped berries and carnival rides for kids and adults of all ages until 11 p.m. The second fireworks display will hit the skies at 9 p.m.
Long Island country band Southbound will perform on the main stage between 6:30 and 10:30 p.m.
The event, a fundraiser for the Mattituck Lions Club and the community and nonprofit organizations it supports, continues throughout the weekend, opening at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The festival closes at 11 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, Father’s Day.
The crowning of this year’s Strawberry Queen will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. on the main stage.
Arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares Friday through Sunday and fresh berries and plants will be on sale Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, Who Are Those Guys? will provide musical entertainment on the main stage between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Souled Out takes the stage from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
In between bands, from 4 to 6 p.m., fairgoers can take in a martial arts demonstration on the main stage.
As has been the case during the past few years, off-site parking will be available at Martha Clara Vineyards, just west of the fairgrounds, with shuttle service on Saturday and Sunday.