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I hope Strawberry Festival gets out of this jam


I am writing in response to the Marysville Globe, March 12, 2017, article on the Marysville Strawberry Festival “in a jam.” It is very true that the 2017 Marysville Strawberry Festival is “in a jam,” but this is due to the leadership of the past 2-3 years.

I would like to address Mr. Darren Doty and Mr. Mark Jensen’s comment on having trouble getting volunteers. In the past the Festival has never had trouble getting volunteers to help put on its events. Most likely, the problem is being caused by the Festival leadership being disrespectful to the volunteers. They banned members from attending meetings and even sent letters to former board members and members telling them they are banned “permanently and lifetime” from being part of the Festival and attending any of the Marysville Strawberry Festival events. My husband (former President of Maryfest Inc.) and I were intimidated, threatened and bullied into leaving the Festival. In August 2016 we received one of the above mentioned “permanently and lifetime banned” letters from the Festival.

After hearing from friends in other festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest, I would like to ask the current leadership why is it that any new members deciding to join them will allegedly have to go through an interview and sign a contract saying they would pay a $10,000 fine if they do anything against the current Board of Directors. Why won’t the Executive Board of Directors answer the allegations that were sent to the Secretary of State and our community leaders? Is it because it’s true? Why is it the current Board of Directors don’t have a treasurer? Why won’t they open their books to the public? Marysville Strawberry Festival, d.b.a. Maryfest Inc., is registered with Washington state as a non-profit community organization.

My other great concern is for the Senior and Junior Royalty, six impressionable young ladies. Have current background checks been done on all members and Board Members, including those who have used other names in the past? I wonder if the job of Chaperone for these young ladies is not being taken as seriously as it has been in the past. Do all of the Chaperones meet training, proper age (25 years old), following By-Laws and Standing Rules and the Royalty Rules? I worry about having the Royalty being driven around by underage drivers which also requires a 25+ year age requirement by the insurance company. Rules were made for a reason and having someone under the age of 25 driving our youth can lead to many problems.

My hope is that the Marysville Strawberry Festival does get out of its jam and we can have our wonderful community event. What needs to happen is that those in current leadership need to leave. How many of the current leadership even live in our community and know the true history of our festival?

Alice VanBeek

Former Hospitality Director and Volunteer


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