Strawberry Festival attendance high

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Members of the Superior National Bank team disburse candy to children along the Strawberry Festival Parade route.

CHASSELL — Whether in bowls or on Beetles, strawberries were everywhere in Chassell on Saturday for the final day of the Copper Country Strawberry Festival.

Turnout was higher than anticipated, said Dan Crane, secretary of the Chassell Lions Club, which organizes the event. Crane was busy bringing in the cake for the popular strawberry shortcake, which created long lines at the pavilion through the afternoon.

“I think all the vendors are almost selling out of things,” he said. “We’re going to sell out a little bit early of our shortcake, but I guess that’s better than having some left at the end.”

With the cooler, wetter spring, the berry season was late coming in, Crane said. It didn’t harm the numbers. In fact, he said, it may have made festival-goers even hungrier for berries.

“We had several farmers bring berries in for the Lions Club to sell,” he said. “As soon as you got them here, there were people lined up to buy them, by the quart or by the flat. They were very successful.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette A Volkswagen Beetle decorated as a strawberry bride rolls down the street during Saturday’s Strawberry Festival Parade.

People took their shortcake under the pavilion while listening to live music, or lounged on the grass outside.

Paden Rothenberger of South Range was relaxing in the shade with his wife, Amber; daughter Ambrey, 3; and son Jaxson, 13 months. He and Amber took turns feeding Jaxson some strawberry shortcake.

They have been coming “every year since we’ve been alive,” he said.

The shortcake and the parade were the main draw. Rothenberger also planned to win a pet fish for his kids at one of the booths.

“Even if we don’t take it home, we’ll give it to someone else,” he said.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lily Ashburn is crowned Strawberry Queen Friday at the Copper Country Strawberry Festival. Ashburn, who recently graduated from Houghton High School, was sponsored by the Portage Lake District Library.

Outside the pavilion area, people browsed dozens of vendors, went on scientific voyages aboard the Agassiz or played in a series of kids’ games in the park. During one, children dug in the sandy volleyball courts for coins or plastic insects. The coins, they could keep. Insects were redeemable for fun prizes.

“Keep looking,” Calvin Larson exhorted his son, Clark, 4.

Clark enjoys the parade and candy, Calvin said.

“I’ve been coming since I was a little kid,” he said. “It’s always awesome to come down and hang out. It’s been perfect weather, especially today.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lori Uponen of the Chassell Lions Club applies whipped cream to strawberry shortcakes Saturday afternoon.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Clark Larson combs the volleyball courts at Centennial Park for treasure during the Strawberry Festival kids games.