CEDARBURG, WI – After two years with nary a smile to harvest, the quaint city of Cedarburg recently got another bad crop of news. Mayor Mike O’Keefe addressed the town’s 12,000 residents in a tearful announcement outside the Cedarburg Mill Friday night. Despite lower COVID cases, 2022 will be without their beloved Strawberry Festival.
Due to supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and a Farmer’s Almanac prediction of an extremely rainy season, all signs point to an underwhelming crop this June. Additionally, with local farmers having been subsidized by Starbucks in anticipation of their summer Frappuccino offerings, local residents will be limited to purchasing one flat of strawberries per family for the entire season.
Lifelong Cedarburg residents Jeff and Maureen Kratz, who share a single Facebook account, teared up as the mayor reported the third straight year without festivity. “Our first child was conceived at the 1979 Strawberry Festival. Back then, it was just a bunch of neighbors off 181 and a bottle of Boone’s Farm, and a lot of whipped cream. The festival is literally the only thing we look forward to anymore now that Cheryl doesn’t visit anymore.”
Originally scheduled for the weekend of June 25-26, O’Keefe told the distraught audience that while the Strawberry Festival had been macerated, help was coming from an unlikely source. Knowing the strawberry’s best friend is the humble banana, Festivals of Cedarburg LLC reached out to an unlikely hero for help: The Honduran Banana Council.
“This June, Cedarburg will showcase its hardiness and resilience, much like the formidable strawberry,” O’Keefe assured the town. “We will call upon our sister city of La Ceiba, Honduras to breathe new life into our town’s sense of community. We will accept change — and approximately 238 cases of bananas. Please join us this June for the first annual Cedarburg Banana Carnival.”
The proclamation was met with resounding boos. Officials hope that by June, the residents will have warmed up to the idea of the new direction the festival has taken.
While festival-goers will no longer be able to enjoy the famous Strawberry Shortcake, vendors will have an array of banana laden treats. Banana cream pies, banana bread, candle salad, banana splits, and deep fried bananas on a stick are all on the menu.
O’Keefe discussed fun, new activities like “Slice The Banana Into A Bowl of Cheerios,” “Who Can Get All The Strings Off The Banana First,” and a banana-eating contest. Plans for the Banana Joust have been shelved after members of Advent Lutheran Church expressed concerns about its suggestive nature.
The Banana Carnival will take place June 25th and 26th from 8am to 10:30pm both days.