I would like to comment on the outcome of this year's Strawberry Festival.
I am a small business owner in Pine and at the start of the Strawberry Festival weekend, we all anticipated a wonderfully profitable weekend. Unfortunately, as the hours ticked by, something was terribly wrong. There were no people enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of Pine. Everyone who stopped into our particular shops (eight in all) were very disappointed with the festival.
We all asked how they enjoyed it. Every single one of our visitors told us that it was not worth the trouble to come from many areas of the state. And what's worse is they said never again would they waste their time, especially if it was going to be in Strawberry again next year.
Regardless of what the business association said of the wonderful turnout and a great time all had, it hurt the town of Pine and the small businesses. I think they need to talk to us and hear what really was being said about the weekend. There are some business owners who are not renewing their memberships, because of the little shops that aren't even acknowledged.
The Strawberry Festival has been one of our four big weekends, as is Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. During these big weekends, people from all over the country come to Pine. They walk and talk, visit and sit under the shade trees. They eat ice cream, hot dogs, drink sodas and they are just happy to spend their money in our stores, and they always seem to come back. We see them year after year, but this year we saw red-sunburned faces, dusty, sweaty bodies and unhappy kids in strollers.
I hope that the business association takes a real hard look at what the public would like for next year. Wood chips won't be the answer.
I do know that I speak for many and we heard the people. It's time you listened.
S. Norton, Strawberry