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Strawberry Festival brings big turnout to downtown Billings

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jul 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 20:20:43-04

The giant strawberry shortcake has not been part of the Strawberry Festival since 2020 Because of COVID.

But the 31st year of the event brought out its largest number of vendors ever, 125.

Crowds packed the sidewalks and street and went for many has been a Billings tradition.

The Heights Lions Club has served a pancake breakfast for about a quarter century at the Strawberry Festival.

"It's got love in it," the Lions Club cook said. "I learned that from my mother. She always cooked with love."

"It entails a lot of work on this project and we enjoy every minute of it," said Scott Dornfeld of the Heights Lions Club.

Dornfeld is also the Lions Clubs Of Montana district governor and says this is the heights Lions Clubs largest fundraiser, which goes to its projects and also to help other organizations.

"Montana Rescue mission, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Ronald McDonald House," Dornfeld said. "We're involved in doing fundraisers for them too."

The number of vendors increased from about 100 in past years, to 125 this year.

"This year, it is the largest street festival we've ever had, " said Lindsay Richardson, Downtown Billings Alliance (DBA) community engagement & events director.

And they always set up in the middle of the street to make it easier to get to the businesses.

"The middle of the street allows for all the festival visitors to walk with the shops," Richardson said. "And the shops aren't back alleys. They're actually part of the festival."

Richardson said the alliiance's mission is to enhance businesses.

"Keep the vitality of downtown going," she said.

And those businesses see more customers during the Strawberry Festival.

"It's a good atmosphere all the time, but it's it's more kind of like a party," said Sherry Daly, owner of Montana Vintage Clothing.

Daly sells clothes going back to the 1980s and even to the 1800s and says some will come back to try on close when they have more time.

"I'm just glad that we have this downtown," Daly said. "I'm glad that people are so receptive to it, and I'm hoping they're all are having a good time."

"We want downtown, as a neighborhood to be a place that is more and more a destination for all visitors and the community," Richardson said.

The festival used to be held in June, but has been in July the last two years.

Richardson said the DBA hosts the first street festival of the summer.

The Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market starts next week, each Saturday from July 16 to Oct. 1.

The DBA then hosts the last street fair of the season, the Harvest Festival on Oct. 8.