Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival: Fun facts you may not know

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The Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival is the largest of all the Long Island berry fests, running for four days and drawing thousands to the farmland grounds of Mattituck each year. You'll find carnival rides, games, live entertainment and, of course, thousands and thousands of fresh-picked strawberries and other delicious confections, including nonalcoholic daiquiris, shortcakes, pies and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Now in its 62nd year, here are 14 fun facts you may not know about the Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival.

The Mattituck Strawberry festival kicked off in 1954

In 1954, three original members of the Mattituck
(Credit: Mattituck Lions Club)

In 1954, three original members of the Mattituck Lions came up with the idea of having a strawberry festival after visiting the strawberry festival in Plant City, Florida. Pictured here, the 1991 post-festival breakdown members.

Strawberry shortcakes are a crowd-pleaser

The original Strawberry Festival featured homemade strawberry shortcake
(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)

The original Strawberry Festival featured homemade strawberry shortcake that was all you can eat for $1. This picture is from 2015's festival.

Strawberry Fields is the festival's home

The first 41 Mattituck Lions Strawberry Festivals were
(Credit: Mattituck Lions Club)

The first 41 Mattituck Lions Strawberry Festivals were held on the athletic fields at Mattituck High School before the festival moved to Strawberry Fields, where it currently is held.

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The festival has grown through the years

Arts and craft vendors began showcasing at the
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(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)

Arts and craft vendors began showcasing at the Mattituck Strawberry Festival in 1984.

A Strawberry Queen is crowned each year

At the 1956 Mattituck Strawberry Festival, the first
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(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)

At the 1956 Mattituck Strawberry Festival, the first Strawberry Festival Queen was honored. Pictured here is Jasmine Clasing, 18, of Southold, who was the 2014 Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Queen. This year's queen will be the 61th.

The Strawberry Queen stands alone

The first and last Strawberry king was honored
(Credit: Randee Daddona)

The first and last Strawberry king was honored at the 1993 festival.

The Long Island Rail Road was a source of transportation to the festival

For many years, the Long Island Rail Road
(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)

For many years, the Long Island Rail Road would have a Strawberry Festival Getaway train, bringing people from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan to the festival in Mattituck.

The festival often features special events

In the 1980s, a special event for attendees
(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi )

In the 1980s, a special event for attendees featured a group of skydivers who would land on the festival grounds on a bullseye, with everyone looking up at the sky to see. In recent years, the festival features live music and many family-friendly activities.

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The festival used to be a one-day, eight-hour event

The Mattituck Strawberry Festival has grown in size
(Credit: Mattituck Lions Club)

The Mattituck Strawberry Festival has grown in size and scope to a four-day event starting in the late 1990s and now runs on Father's Day every year. As a bonus, dads get free admission when accompanied by a child.

Chocolate-covered strawberries hit the festival in the 1990s

Besides strawberry shortcake and fresh berry sales, chocolate-covered
(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)

Besides strawberry shortcake and fresh berry sales, chocolate-covered strawberries hit the festival in the 1990s. Nonalcoholic strawberry daiquiris and strawberry pies followed shortly after.

The Dutch Wheel is the largest traveling Ferris wheel in the U.S.

The festival features Reithoffer Shows rides including the
(Credit: Heather Walsh)

The festival features Reithoffer Shows rides including the famous Dutch Wheel, which is the largest traveling Ferris wheel in U.S. It stands 120 feet tall, and the festival is Reithoffer's only Long Island show.

Mattituck Lions support many Long Island charities

Corporate sponsors generously began supporting and underwriting some
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(Credit: Randee Daddona)

Corporate sponsors generously began supporting and underwriting some of the large costs of putting on the Mattituck Strawberry Festival, starting in 1998, the organization says. This allows the Mattituck Lions to support many charities.

Early festivals featured award-winning square-dancers

The square-dancers would put on a show, wearing
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(Credit: Heather Walsh)

The square-dancers would put on a show, wearing western outfits -- the men in cowboy hats and bandannas, and the ladies in flowing gingham dresses.

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Several North Fork farms grow strawberries for the festival

Tens of thousands of fresh local berries are
(Credit: Randee Daddona)

Tens of thousands of fresh local berries are picked and go through the hulling process just a day before they are mashed and made part of the festival's famous strawberry shortcake.

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