Hulling night, an annual tradition, is held the first night of the four-day fair. The hulled berries are made into strawberry shortcake, daiquiris, pie and more.
Some of those in attendance said the strawberry festival, which features a carnival, food and craft vendors and more, has been a family tradition for years.
“I’ve been coming to the Strawberry Festival the past 20 years, and Julia [my daughter] has come with me the past 9 years,” said Rick Tesoro of Centereach. “The people are so friendly, and it’s so beautiful out here. This is our first time hulling. I wanted to teach my daughter what it means to volunteer, that way during the festival she can see that we were a part of this.”
For some, the hulling night tradition stretches even longer.
“I’ve been coming to hulling night for 16 years because I enjoy it so much,” said Sheila Mueller of Aquebogue. “My son used to come with me but he’s moved away. My record last year was 21 quarts, I’m hoping to beat it this year.”
Of the nearly 10,000 clamshells of strawberries used, some are grown on the North Fork — though many more are imported.
The festival continues today, Saturday, and Sunday at the Strawberry Fieleds on Route 48 in Mattituck.