Organizers: First-ever strawberry fest a success

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 29, 2001

Surrounded by the cheers of their friends, young strawberry lovers gobbled their way to victory Saturday.

The children were taking part in a strawberry eating contest as part of the first-ever Natchez Strawberry Festival at the Main Street Marketplace.

&uot;Use both hands,&uot; said Christopher Peters, 14, of Port Gibson, when explaining his winning technique for the age 11 to 14 category. &uot;Just put the whole thing in your mouth and spit the leaves back out.&uot;

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The Natchez Strawberry Festival was organized this year by Regina Trosclair Charboneau, Clifton Peters and Pat Bacon with Stephen Stoetzner of Springfield, La. providing the strawberries.

The purpose of the festival was to promote the Main Street Marketplace and promote local farmers and encourage them to sell produce downtown.

The Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau, Alcorn State University and the USDA also sponsored the event.

&uot;It actually is a better turnout than I expected for the first (festival),&uot; Charboneau said.

She estimated about 200 people attended the festival by mid Saturday afternoon to purchase strawberry deserts and buy strawberries. The visitors bought 45 flats of strawberries by the end of the eating contest, she said.

&uot;There were literally people here before they opened,&uot; she said.

Visitors could also receive information on how to grow, can or care for strawberries.

&uot;The goal of this is to see every aspect of the farmers’ market met from the farming part, to the finished product, to the food product,&uot; Charboneau said.