2017 Brought new changes to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival. The Pasadena Strawberry Festival and the San Jacinto Day Foundation were almost the same organization. In fact the San Jacinto Day Foundation was founded in 1967 by Beverly Jackson, Helen Alexander and George McCrocklin. They wrote the first bylaws for the organization and applied to the State for Articles of Incorporation, and their purpose was to promote the history of San Jacinto Day. As of 2017 the board has been reduced to 3 and it still performs its charter.
The Pasadena Strawberry Festival as of February 17, 2017 is now its own 501 (c)3 nonprofit and have cut all its ties to the San Jacinto Day Foundation , but the history of how the Festival started is still there. Going forward the Festival will be making its own history and producing a huge event. Please finish reading our beginning:
Then in 1974 a small group of citizens decided to hold the 1st San Jacinto Strawberry Festival on the Pasadena high school foot ball field under a tent. It was a stunt to get people to visit the new Pasadena Museum across from the Pasadena High School; little did they know that there stunt would grow into such a large event.
Now as for the reason they decided to hold a strawberry festival was because of Pasadena’s history with strawberries. You see in the 1900’s after the great hurricane in Galveston, the Pasadena area needed a way to produce a product that would yield a great crop and lot of income, in a small amount of time. So Clara Barton with the Red Cross came in and planted Strawberries. With the train railways so close and the sandy soil, this became a great crop for Pasadena. Soon Pasadena was known as the “Strawberry Capital of the South” due to exporting so many train cars full of strawberries. Then the petro chemical companies came in to Pasadena. The strawberry fields of yesterday are now covered by large Petro Chemical companies.
And you ask about the San Jacinto Strawberry Festival well it changed also to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival and now instead of being held on a football field under at tent, it’s held on the Pasadena Fairgrounds on a 106 acre facility, using all of the facility. It’s held on the 3rd weekend in May annually with an attendance of 61,000 or more. The Festival has been held now for 43 years and its stronger today than ever. Let me tell you a little about the festival itself.
Its 3 days of good family fun starting with many pre-events leading up to the festival like the Beauty Pageant and the large Festival Parade. At the festival patrons can watch Mud Volleyball which is 16 regulation size pits dug in the dirt, filled with 3ft of water and 128 teams of 10 competing for 1st place. Beside the mud volleyball, the festival also has a carnival, BBQ cook-off, helicopter rides, baby float parade, vendors with clothes, home décor, food and jewelry, a total of 289 vendors, contest such as adult strawberry eating , mud follies games, a large air conditioned children’s area with puppet shows, game, strawberry eating contest, then there specialty acts like pig races, strolling acts, magic, jugglers, pony rides , petting zoo, and 3 stages of entertainment. The Pasadena Strawberry Festival is home to the World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake, it was built in 2014 by Kroger to the tune of 2,073 square feet of cake. This cake has been on the food network show “Al Roker on the Road” and in the Guinness Book of World Records. The cake is sold in slices starting on Friday and completely sold out by Sunday. $3 a slice big enough to feed a family.
The Pasadena Strawberry Festival has won numerous marketing awards from prestige fairs and events organizations such as Texas Festival & Events Association, International Festival and Events Association and the Texas Association of Events and Fairs. The festival is governed by a board of 32 directors, 2 full time employees. The Strawberry Festival has won numerous awards for its parade float in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo parade as well as many other Parades it’s participated in over the years.
You ask what the festival does with the process from the entry fees, gate fees etc. Well the festival has donated back to the community of Pasadena by giving scholarships to area high school students, San Jacinto College students, and Texas Chiropractic College students in the amount of $564,480.00 just since 1996. We also donate to18 other non profits that help us produce the festival for the 3 days such as Rotary Clubs, YMCA, High School Booster Clubs, and since 1996 we have donated $569,564.00. We also donated to San Jacinto Museum & Monument to help produce their Battle Reenactment in April to celebrate Texas’s independence from Mexico. And we donate to the City of Pasadena Library.
We hope that if you’re ever in Pasadena, Texas in May that you’ll come on out to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival and enjoy some Strawberry Shortcake and strawberry activities. We’ll still be here and hope that you will also.