If given the opportunity to travel back in time or ahead to the future, would you do it? In the hit movie series “Back to the Future”, Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel back in time and into the future from the year 1985.
Let’s say that Doc and Marty were to take a short side trip in their DeLorean time machine to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, traveling to the date June 18, 1898. Upon landing, they would experience the community’s first-ever Strawberry Day. In comparing the original and the 2016 event, they would find that although the festival has grown and evolved over the years, the heart of the celebration remains the same. The community and visitors get together to celebrate the beginning of summer with food, music and fun activities for the whole family.
On June 18, 1898, Doc and Marty gather alongside 3,000 visitors to Glenwood Springs who traveled by train for a reduced fare in honor of the event.
In the late 1800’s, because strawberries were produced in abundance in the area, the entire state was invited to view and taste the display of crops. Doc and Marty fill up on strawberries, cream and homemade cake served by the women of Glenwood Springs. Flower arrangements are on display at the opera house on “Riverfront.” Folks dance to the music of the Colorado Midland Band at Eighth Street and Grand Avenue.
Doc and Marty then generate 1.21 gigawatts of power and get their DeLorean traveling at 88 miles per hour so they can travel to the upcoming Strawberry Days Festival on June 18, 2016. They time it perfectly and land on Grand Avenue during the parade. Spectators are elated to discover that a small Colorado town can pull off Hollywood special effects like that! Doc and Marty can’t believe how impressive the community floats are, though they do find it strange that people are dressed like them, and that some of the floats look like their DeLorean.
Unfortunately, Doc and Marty missed the kickoff to the festival on Friday night. That’s when the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Locals’ Choice awards were announced, Miss Strawberry Days was crowned and the Strawberry Princesses appeared. The Fab 4, A Tribute to the Beatles took the crowd back to a time when four lads from Liverpool ruled the world of music. Luckily, with 2016 technology, the time-traveling duo can utilize their smartphones to watch videos on Facebook and read all about it on the Post Independent’s responsive website.
After the parade, Doc and Marty follow the crowds to Sayre Park, where they again fill up on free strawberries and ice cream, just like they did in 1898. Strolling through over 100 arts and crafts booths, they are immersed in beautiful one-of-a-kind creations. They see that there are some fresh, Colorado-grown strawberries for sale this year, so they make a mental note to get some of those before they leave.
They head over to FamilyFest to catch a performance by Chad Juros, the award-winning magician. Juros was recently honored on Good Morning America as an everyday hero. The FamilyFest schedule is packed with entertainment all day Saturday and Sunday. Jammin’ Jim will be there all weekend long keeping the audiences laughing.
There’s also the Strawberry Princess Celebration, story time, family yoga, 11-year old singer and songwriter Emma Marie, a display of live birds of prey and so much more. In the peripheral area, there are Sopris Soarers aerialists, the Bubble Fairy, Vern’s Mini Train, pony rides, a petting zoo and other children’s amusements.
Festival-goers ask where the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association found characters that look so much like the original Doc and Marty from “Back to the Future.” Throughout the day, people ask Doc and Marty if they can take a “selfie” with them. Doc and Marty don’t know what a “selfie” is but they play it cool and oblige.
By now, the strawberries and ice cream have worn off, and our duo heads to the food court to grab a bite to eat. From gyros to funnel cakes, Navajo tacos and giant turkey legs, the decision isn’t easy. They relax in the summer sun and enjoy some of the main stage entertainment. Doc decides it’s about time for beer, but at the last minutes tries one of the new wine slushies he’s been hearing about instead. Marty is underage so he goes for a fresh-squeezed lemonade.
All around the park, people have been talking about how excited they are for Saturday’s headliner. Since Doc and Marty are from 1985, they have never heard of Brothers Keeper featuring Jono Mason and John Popper. Apparently John Popper is the front man of Blues Traveler and Jono Mason is a New York City rock and blues pioneer. Doc and Marty decide they might as well stay and listen to Ashley Red, a regular on the Strawberry Days stage.
After a full day of fun, Doc and Marty contemplate the plan for the next day. Should they head back to 1985 or stay for another day?
Sunday starts early with the Strawberry Shortcut Race and the Rotary Pancake breakfast so they better get to sleep early. Entertainment on the main stage begins at 9 a.m. with performances by local music and dance groups. The two want to see the Battle of the Bands winner, and they don’t want to miss Boulder-based Quemando Salsa Band. Plus, they heard on the radio that they can get free salsa dance lessons before the band plays.
Marty has his eye on a necklace for his girlfriend, Jennifer, and Doc wants to get a bonsai plant. They both want to try some more food. They haven’t even had a chance to head out to the carnival at Glenwood Springs Mall, so they decide to stay one more day to experience it all.
When they finally get back to 1985, Marty says, “Well Doc, how do you think the 1898 Strawberry Day compares to the 2016 festival?”
“Great Scott! They were both so fun! It’s amazing that a celebration started in 1898 has continued for over 100 years! Let’s set the DeLorean to Strawberry Days in 2117 and see what it’s like!”
Angie Anderson is Vice President of Operations for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and coordinates Strawberry Days.