Although you wouldn’t know it by looking at the place today, for much of its history Bellevue has been a predominantly agricultural community. Strawberries have played an especially prominent role in the growth and development of the city, and at one time before World War 2, there were more than 200 acres of strawberry fields within the present Bellevue city limits. Because of this, in 1925 a number of civic and business leaders in the community organized the first Strawberry Festival in Bellevue, an event which attracted thousands of visitors, and would continue to grow for years, until World War 2 caused the cancellation of the Strawberry Festival in 1942, as many of the Japanese farmers who grew strawberries in Bellevue were sent to internment camps in California for the duration of the conflict. For more information of the history of the Strawberry Festival in Bellevue, you can go to this page, and over at HistoryLink there is an essay written in 1934 by a college student describing memories of one of the earliest festivals.
After the war, it would take more than forty years before the Strawberry Festival was revived; first as a one-night event hosted by the Bellevue Historical Society in 1987, then as a full-scale civic festival by the Eastside Heritage Center in 2003. This year’s festival was held over the past weekend at Crossroads Park, providing a glance into the history of Bellevue in days now long forgotten, as well as a look at the Bellevue of today. After the jump you will find some of the highlights of my visit to the Strawberry Festival.