2022 in Review: A makeover for the 125th return of Glenwood’s Strawberry Days after 2-year absence

A member of the Salida Circus performs for the crowd at the 125th annual Strawberry Days at Two Rivers Park on Saturday of this year's fair.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Editor’s note: This week, the Post Independent news team takes a look back at some of the big stories and key issues that shaped 2022 in Glenwood Springs and across Garfield County, and what can be expected as the calendar turns to 2023. Happy New Year!

A tradition almost as old as the town itself, Strawberry Days saw some big changes for its 125th anniversary in Glenwood Springs after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. 

The annual celebration has been traditionally held at Sayre Park right on Grand Avenue, or “Strawberry Park” as many old timers had come to call it over the decades. 

The celebration is older than any continuously held civic celebration west of the Mississippi, according to the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. 

Although Strawberry Park earned the informal namesake, the celebration outgrew the park itself in recent years. 

Taking a two-year hiatus because of concerns about large gatherings during COVID, the Glenwood Chamber took the time to plan big for the 125th anniversary. The big change was the decision was to move the festival to Two Rivers Park at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Forks rivers.

A young aspiring firefighter waves to the crowd while riding in a fire truck at the 125th annual Strawberry Days Parade down Pitkin Avenue on Saturday morning of the festival.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The traditional parade route was also moved two blocks west of Grand Avenue to Pitkin Avenue, which is a bit closer to the new festival venue.

Since Grand Avenue also serves as the main highway going through town (Colorado Highway 82), closing the thoroughfare has created additional challenges for the city and the residents in more recent years as traffic has increased. 

With the change, the parade took on a more local, neighborhood vibe and is no longer held right next to the celebration on the town’s busiest street. 

The new park setting also provided some more elbow room to hand out free strawberries and ice cream to all after the parade, with a whole lot of extra space for vendors, a larger music venue, informational booths and live performance spaces. 

People gather in Two Rivers Park to get free strawberries and ice cream and the 125th annual Strawberry Days.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The new venue also caused the Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club to create a new course for its annual Kiwanis Ball Race fundraiser, with the brand new Devereux Trail on the west side of Two Rivers Park making for the perfect course. 

Parking became the biggest issue for the new venue, but a combination of nearby parking at the Colorado Department of Transportation facility across Devereux Road, and a campaign to encourage bike-riding and walking to the festival, seemed to work.

Many of the old Strawberry Days traditions remained, but another big change was the decision to do away with the Miss Strawberry Days pageant, where judges selected the winners based on poise, personality, community involvement and an ability to work with and motivate a group.

A replacement contest is being planned for 2023, the winner of which is to take on the role as the festival ambassador.

A girl looks in awe at her sliced mango while checking out the food vendors at the 125th annual Strawberry Days at Two Rivers Park.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Chamber Resort Association President and CEO Angie Anderson said after the 2022 festival that the vast majority of feedback was positive.

“People seemed to like that you could spread out and have more space to enjoy the event,” Anderson said as things began to wind down on the three-day festival.

However, the changes didn’t come without some criticism about moving the festival out of the center of town.

Grizzly Hocky representatives take part in the 125th annual Strawberry Days Parade on Pitkin Avenue Saturday morning of the festival in June.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

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