What to expect at the annual Strawberry Festival in Mattituck

Southold’s Matt Larsen feeds a strawberry to his neighbor’s son, Wyatt Rebentisch.

Hulling Night, a strawberry shortcake eating contest and the crowning of the Strawberry Queen only means one thing: the Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival is returning to Mattituck. Now in it’s 65th  year, the annual Father’s Day weekend festival kicks off Thursday with Hulling Night followed by three days of fun focused on its namesake summertime berry.

Chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry pies, non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiris and pints of fresh, local berries are among the fruit-themed fare. There is also a smorgasbord of fair favorites such as gyros, funnel cakes, roasted corn, sausages and hamburgers.

In addition to live music and craft vendors, the daily carnival features more than 25 rides and midway games plus a giant Ferris wheel. Tickets can be purchased online at mattituckstrawberryfestival.org.

Here is your guide to all the activities broken down by day:

Thursday, June 13

5 p.m.: Hulling starts at the Strawberry Fields Fairground in Mattituck. Community volunteers will be hulling approximately 100,000 berries used to make shortcake and alcohol-free daiquiris for the festival. Hullers receive free admission.

6:30 to 10:30 p.m.: The carnival kicks off. Tickets are $6 for adults and children over 5. Children under 5 are free to enter. The pay-one-price ride bracelet is $25. Single ride tickets are also available.

9:15 p.m.: Fireworks, weather permitting

Friday, June 14

5 to 11 p.m.: The carnival continues with the same admission charges as Thursday. The pay-one-price ride bracelet is $30 and single ride tickets are also available.

7 to 11 p.m.: The Eagle River Band takes the stage.

10 p.m.: Fireworks, weather permitting

Saturday, June 15

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.:Admission for the all day carnival is the same. The pay-one-price ride bracelet is $30 and is good from opening to 5 p.m. a second pay-one-price bracelet for $30 is good from 5 p.m. until close. All-day bracelets are $50. Single ride tickets are also available.

3 p.m.: The crowning of the Strawberry Queen. The local contestants are judged on poise, academic success, range of interests and a commitment to community service. The winner is awarded a scholarship and represents the Mattituck Lions Club at various events throughout the year.

5 p.m.: The Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest starts. Some of the globe’s best competitive eaters are participating, including 24-year-old Carmen Cincotti who scarfed down 22 pounds of strawberry shortcake in just eight minutes at last year’s Strawberry Festival, setting a new world record, according to Major League Eating, which sanctions the competition.

10:15 p.m.: Grand Finale fireworks, weather permitting

Sunday, June 16

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Admission for the all day carnival is the same. The pay-one-price ride bracelet is $30 and single ride tickets are also available. No admission charge for fathers on Father’s Day when accompanied by paid child.

11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.: Nature Nick showcases an exotic animal display. The educational show features five to six trained exotic animals including, but not limited to: owls, falcons, snakes, alligators, foxes, armadillos and turtles.

12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: Comedian Jester Jim juggles.