Historic Pungo Strawberry Fest cancelled, residents & businesses say that's 'a bummer'

Strawberry Festival cancelled due to parking issues
Pungo strawberry festival
Pungo strawberry festival
Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-09 17:23:48-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A staple since the 80’s, the Pungo Strawberry Festival has been cancelled.

The big announcement about the prominent event was made Tuesday.

READ MORE: Here's why the Pungo Strawberry Festival was canceled again

The Strawberry Festival would normally take place on Memorial Day weekend, but it was cancelled for the fourth year in a row.

The first two years the festival didn't happen was due to COVID.

And last year, an organizer told News 3, that the cancellation was not because of COVID, but related to parking issues.

And according to a festival organizers weren’t able to secure land use agreements that they needed for parking this year.

Organizers said it means that they can’t use the land they need to park a large number of cars as they have in the past because some private landowners no longer want to participate.

They’ve told us they’re looking for other sites but haven’t found a good substitute.

Residents and business owners we spoke to here say they’re disappointed, but some of them did understand why the landowners backed out.

“I mean, it’s just kind of a bummer. You know, it’s always a good time,” said Dylan Rogers, the owner of Pungo Board House near the festival grounds. “There’s a lot of family and friends that come in from out of town. They’ve been coming for years, so it’s a good way for people to get together. The business part, we were always busy. But it was about hanging out with everybody and the whole vibe."

“It’s a lot of people that come to Pungo for that. Takes a lot of community involvement with landowners you know, releasing their land for parking and a lot of foot and car traffic on that land, so I see both sides,” said Eddie Compo, the owner and operator of Sawdust Road. “I understand why owners would be hesitant to do that, and then I see everybody that’s going to lose out on that small time feel.”

Strawberry season in Virginia Beach runs from April to June.

So even though we will all miss out on the festival, we will still be able to enjoy the fresh fruit.