The Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival is the granddaddy of all berry fests, running for four days and drawing thousands to the rural farmland grounds of Mattituck each year. It's a full carnival experience with rides, games and live entertainment. A Strawberry Fair Queen is crowned.

On Thursday night, hundreds of volunteers come out to hull thousands of strawberries that will be used for the rest of the festival to make nonalcoholic daiquiris, shortcake, pies and chocolate-covered berries. Admission is free, with reduced-price rides on the midway as the festival gets underway and a short fireworks show, weather permitting.

The full festival begins Friday and continues through Sunday. While the fruit takes center stage all weekend, food vendors sell all kinds of carnival foods, from sausage-and-peppers to gyros to ice cream.

Reithoffer Shows runs the carnival for the event, with the largest movable Ferris wheel in the country. "They are much different than the ones you usually find at these things," says Phil Centonze, a past president of the Mattituck Lions Club, about the carnival operators. "They do state fairs."

Bands play throughout the carnival. A Strawberry Queen is crowned Saturday at 3 p.m. Additional fireworks shows are planned for Friday and Saturday nights.

WHEN | WHERE June 13-16. 5-10:30 p.m. Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday;  11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at 1175 Rte. 48, Mattituck


ADMISSION Thursday: Free ($25 ride bracelets); Friday: $5 ($30 ride bracelet); Saturday-Sunday: $5 ($30-$50 ride bracelets). Free admission for children younger than 5. Free admission for dads with paid child admission on Sunday.

PARKING For those coming from the west, park at 660 Herricks Lane, Jamesport, where shuttle bus service runs continuously to the festival. Handicapped parking is available only at the festival grounds.