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Poteet Strawberry Festival returns, but growers say it could be limited due to coronavirus pandemic

“They want to have something. It may not be the same as it was before, but they want to have something," Poteet Mayor Willie Leal Jr. said.

SAN ANTONIO — The Poteet Strawberry Festival started in 1948 as an incentive to get veterans retuning home from World War II back into farming.

74 years later it turned into a multi-million dollar boom for Poteet and Atascosa County.

"We've got all kinds of activities. We've got rodeos, carnivals. We have shows, concerts, food booths, parades," Owner of Garcia Farms Donovan Garcia Sr. said.

The biggest trick this year: figuring out what the festival will be able to do, and how to do it safely. This after the coronavirus pandemic put a sudden stop to plans last year.

“They want to have something. It may not be the same as it was before, but they want to have something," Poteet Mayor Willie Leal Jr. said.

Mayor Leal says there are a lot of businesses and organizations counting on the festival to get back on track.

"All of the food vendors inside the grounds are local people and they're all non-profit and a lot of them depend on the strawberry festival for their income for the year to help their communities," Mayor Leal said.

The Poteet Strawberry Festival’s website says the festival brings in an estimated$10 to $12 million dollars to Atascosa County and South Texas each year.

At this time events like the auction and drive through farmers’ market are scheduled to happen, but whether or not the rodeo, parade, and carnival be back are still up in the air.

The dates for this years festival are set for April 9-11.

"Every year it's always a blessing to be able to grow these things from the bottom and actually be able to give them out to our communities and to the friends." Poteet Strawberry Growers Association member Donovan Garcia Jr. said.

Strawberry growers say they’ll continue to monitor the pandemic response and make the best decision for themselves, their community, and the thousands of people that travel every year to go to the Strawberry Festival.