Strawberry Festival to offer virtual run this year

Strawberry Festival to offer virtual run this yearRunners line up at the starting line for the 2019 Strawberry Festival 5K Race, which was held as a fundraiser for the high school booster club and the Historic Owego Marketplace, the event’s host. This year’s run will be held virtually. For more information on the run, visit (File Photo / Owego Pennysaver)

Flashback in time, Stella Reschke, the former Tourism Director for Tioga County, was an avid runner and started an event that was held as a fundraiser for the Historic Owego Marketplace’s Strawberry Festival in Owego, planned for June 17-18, 2022 in downtown Owego this year.

When Reschke retired, the Tourism office, in agreement with HOM, let a local booster club organize and handle the event, which grew in numbers over the years. It was a thrill for runners to begin the race by passing through a cheering Block Party crowd at Owego’s Strawberry Festival.

But the festival itself was forced to cancel two years in a row, and many things changed to include a new HOM Board President, changes in the business climate, and a lack of workers and volunteers, with the latter seeming to be most problematic.

When the sponsoring agency, HOM, spoke back in January with some of the event’s key players like the police and HOM board members, it was decided to postpone the race this year, and instead hold it virtually. The link for more information on the run is located at

For the Fun Run, which is one mile, participants will receive a Strawberry tattoo and sticker. The cost is a $15 race fee and an additional $1.87 sign up fee. 

For the 5K run, participants receive a Strawberry tattoo, sticker, and a Strawberry Race Medal. The fee for the 5K is $25, and an additional $2.45 sign up fee.

With a lack of fire police and other volunteers to provide safety and security for the entire 5K event, the decision to host a virtual race was made for this year’s event.

As for the booster club, who assisted in the race, many students will continue to participate in other fundraising activities at the festival this year.

The Owego Free Academy Class of 2023 Booster Club will have a booth in front of the Owego Pennysaver office, located at 181 Front St., during the festival.

Musicians and members of the Owego Free Academy band, Making the Band, have a few surprises in store for guests on Friday evening, the festival relies on help from various scout troops with some being Owego Apalachin School students, we have students gaining some experience with stage management this year, and dozens of youth, including the Owego Free Academy marching band, will be in the parade.

To learn more about the race, visit To learn more about this year’s festival, visit For questions regarding the race, email to and put 5K Race in the subject line.

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