Organizers of the Marysville Strawberry Festival are hoping to raise funds and provide family fun 

 Local families will be able to get socially distanced photos with Santa on the Strawberry Festival float this month.

The opportunity is put together by Maryfest, the organization that runs the Strawberry Festival, to help fundraise during a tough year for the local nonprofit.

Money will go toward the royalty scholarships that Maryfest provides to the Strawberry Festival royalty each year.

The photo opportunities will be Dec. 13 from noon to 4 p.m., Dec. 17 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 19 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Dec. 20 from noon to 4 p.m.

The float will be set up outside the Maryfest office at 1412 First St., Marysville.

Beginning Dec. 3 the organization will be accepting reservations on their office line at 360-659-7664.The float will have a holiday theme for the pictures.

"We are decorating our float with holiday decorations and coming out with Santa Claus," said Gail Frost, Maryfest president.

"The float will be all lit up as well," she added.

Families can reserve a block of time of up to 20 minutes to get pictures with Santa. The suggested donation is $20 per family. 

Only one family will be outside their car at a time.

"We're making sure that everyone is safe and social distancing," said Frost.

Santa and other individuals will be six feet apart, including when the pictures are taken.

"So, for the picture they won't be right next to each other but you'll still be able to get a photo with them both," said Frost.

"We don't know how many Santas will be available this holiday season," Frost said, so she hopes that people come down to support Maryfest.

"Where are you ever going to have an opportunity to come get a photo of Santa on a float?" she said.

The organization is also providing free hot cocoa, popcorn and cider, and have pop-up tents in the event of rain.

Strawberry Festival royalty will also be there to help organize the event. "They will be Santa's helpers," said Frost.

Families will likely have to bring their own camera.

"We may have someone with a camera there, but we're still working that out," said Frost.

The Strawberry Festival royalty help lead the float every year and are usually tasked with representing the city during other summer festivals as well.

As winners of the Marysville pageant they receive $3,600 if they are crowned king or queen and $2,500 for the princes and princesses.

This year the royalty was less active.

"They didn't get to do much this year unfortunately," said Frost, although they have been active in volunteering, such as at the food bank.

Maryfest had to cancel this year's Strawberry Festival because of the pandemic.

"We made no money last year and we have a lot of expenses," including renting their office, float construction and scholarships, said Frost.

The pandemic is a difficult time for the organization which usually relies on festival sponsorships to help fund themselves.

"And nobody knows what's going to happen next year," said Frost. "It's a tough time for everybody."

The Santa photo fundraiser is one of the first such attempts to bring in some funds for the organization, and they are considering a virtual auction for next summer if the festival is canceled again.

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