This weekend, the Eastside can have its strawberry shortcake — and eat it for two days, too. The 80th annual Strawberry Festival returns...

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This weekend, the Eastside can have its strawberry shortcake — and eat it for two days, too.


The 80th annual Strawberry Festival returns to Main Street in Old Bellevue tomorrow and Sunday, boasting thousands of pounds of berries, gallons of whipping cream, a number of local vendors, a classic-automobile show and a mini museum.


Organized by the Eastside Heritage Center, the event celebrates Bellevue’s agricultural roots. When Jennie Ethel Bovee started the tradition in 1925, long before the skeleton of Lincoln Square towered over downtown and the floating bridges moved traffic across the lake, Bellevue was a farming community.


Although celery, lettuce and grapes were harvested and shipped nationwide, Bellevue was best known for its bountiful strawberry crops. The berries and shortcake brought out crowds of 10,000 to 15,000 when the area’s population was less than 1,000.


The festival was canceled during World War II and wasn’t revived until 1987. This weekend, 20,000 visitors are expected.


“I get butterflies thinking about how much we’ve grown,” said Daniel Gale, co-coordinator of the festival.


Grown so much, in fact, that some streets will be shut down for the weekend, partly for a parade of classic cars. Owners of vehicles older than 1985 may register before 5 p.m. Friday by calling 425-453-1655 or on-site Sunday morning.


Information



Strawberry Festival:


www. bellevuestrawberryfestival.org


Gale said this year’s festival will feature three times as many food vendors, twice as many merchant booths and 10 times the number of historic artifacts as previous years. Inside the Heritage Center’s mini-museum tent, visitors can use a traditional canning machine to create a personal time capsule with “artifacts” brought from home.


Also this weekend is Bellevue’s seventh annual 24-Hour Relay Challenge, held in Downtown Park adjacent to Bellevue Square. The event is modeled after the Relay for Life, and participants in teams of 10 people will take turns rounding the track starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.



Bellevue Strawberry Festival


The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday on 103rd Avenue Northeast between Main and Northeast Second streets. It features strawberry shortcake, historic artifacts, entertainment and a classic-automobile show. A shuttle will run from free parking at Bellevue High School, 10416 Wolverine Way, to the festival.


Several streets, including two blocks of Main Street, will be closed from 6 a.m. Sunday until 6 p.m. Sunday. Among them: 102nd Avenue Northeast from Main Street to Northeast First Street, 103rd Avenue Northeast from Main Street to Northeast First Street, and Northeast First Place between 102nd Avenue Northeast and 103rd Avenue Northeast. Also, Main Street will be closed between 102nd Avenue Northeast and Bellevue Way on Sunday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Detour signs will be in place.


Lara Bain: 206-464-2112 or lbain@seattletimes.com