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Kimmswick Strawberry Festival returns red and ripe

Flooding and COVID-19 could not keep the Jefferson County river town down. The festival continues Sunday.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — The annual Kimmswick Strawberry Festival is underway this weekend in the Jefferson County, Missouri, river town.

Between flooding and COVID, it’s been a rough couple of years in Kimmswick. That event had to be canceled last year because of the pandemic.

But if parking and traffic Saturday are any indication, the strawberry festival in Kimmswick is back in business.

Inside, you’ll find actual strawberries and about anything else you can imagine on the “festival” circuit.

They are moving product at the Imperial Farmer’s Market booth, where the strawberries look ripe and juicy.

Gina Viviano said it was busy.

“Oh yeah!” she said, in between customers ordering preserves. “Trying to keep up with the strawberries.”

“Yeah, it’s very busy,” offered her sister, Chris Leach. “I think this is the busiest it’s been since 2018.”

Arkansas vendor My Father’s Garden has been to Kimmswick before, selling their brand of lime jalapeno pepper jelly.

5 On Your Side was there when one customer tasted a sample.

“This is really good. It’s kind of sweet, right?” she asked the owner, Chad Rasmussen.

“A little delayed heat,” he said.

“We went to the Apple Butter Festival in 2019,” Rasmussen said.

So what brought them back?

“Look at this!” he laughed, looking around the crowded festival.

“This is an incredible place!”

309 Elm, a retail gallery space in the Bernard Klein House since 2014, promotes arts and culture through active living and universal design.

Owner Amy Barnes acknowledged her business was one of the few made of bricks and mortar, instead of a temporary tent.

“This is the first festival since 2018, and we’re very happy to see the crowds,” Barnes said.

Tony Walters’ custom pop culture mini-figures loom large at StL Brick Fanatics. A 5 On Your Side reporter asked Walters what it means to have this opportunity to display his wares at a festival once again.

“Oh, everything,” Walters said. “This is a family business. My kids help me; the family helps. It impacts everybody, but for us, personally, it was a blessing to be able to get going again.”

The Kimmswick Strawberry Festival continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available with a shuttle to and from Windsor Intermediate School and Windsor High School.

Residents are also selling parking in grass fields outside their homes, blocks from the festival venue.

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