Triumphal entry of the Strawberry Queens! - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Photos: Supplied.

Hard on the heels of the coronation the Redlands Coast is seeking retired queens; several, in fact.

Redland Museum is hoping to contact as many former Strawberry Queens as possible for a celebratory high tea – Strawberry Festival, Queens and Dreams – to be held on August 20. The high tea precedes the RedFest Redlands Coast Festival, in its triumphal return after three years of COVID lockdown.

The first Strawberry Festival was held in 1953, a one-off event to raise money for the Capalaba School of Arts Hall. A regional glut of strawberries saw the Festival revived in 1958 and 1959.

A move to the Redland Show Grounds in 1965 allowed the Festival to expand into a major event, now known as RedFest Redlands Coast Festival, a celebration of music, food and culture which draws in crowds from all over south-east Queensland. Its value as a fundraiser was remembered and in the days before the government took on financial responsibility for the ambulance service the Strawberry Queen Quest and the chocolate wheel raised money for the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade (now the Queensland Ambulance Service). Local women were encouraged to compete for the adjudicated title of Strawberry Queen. Strawberries, of course, take centre stage; this is the place to assuage any lingering yearnings for Ekka-style cream-topped strawberry ice creams.

Jan Banks and her late husband Ian were there at the beginning. Ian was on the QATB benefit committee for 18 years working for the Festival and Quest; when he took on the huge task of running the Queen Quest for five years Jan was his willing assistant. Jan remembers it as a very busy but fulfilling time.

“The Strawberry Queen Quest supported a really worthy cause. It was wonderful for the Redlands, as all these different clubs and organisations who had sponsored a talented entrant worked hard holding many fundraising functions – street stalls, dances, car rallies, barbecues, car washes and chocolate wheels,” she says.

“Then there would be the Strawberry Ball to prepare for, the hall to decorate, the float to build and decorate, the fun of the procession and the judging and the Strawberry Festival itself. They were very happy days and it really brought the community together.”

The last Strawberry Queen was crowned in 2000 and this year, to honour the contribution to the community by the Queens and their supporters, Redland Museum’s exhibition space will house displays of Strawberry Queen gowns, memorabilia, videos and photographs. The highlight of the celebration is a regal high tea, where guests can share memories and conversations with as many Strawberry Queens as can be mustered. Jan Banks will be an organiser and treasured guest.

If you’re a former Strawberry Queen Redland Museum wants to hear from you; please contact Tara Young on 3286 3494 for more information about a red-carpet welcome.

For those who’d like to join the royal court for high tea bookings are essential; please call Redland Museum on 3286 3494.

Calling all Strawberry Queens for a Royal High Tea!

To celebrate the 2023 Redfest, which began life as the Strawberry Festival, Redland Museum is holding a Strawberry Festival Queens and Dreams high tea on Sunday August 20, 2023.

The annual Strawberry Queens, drawn from the ranks of dedicated charity fundraisers, reigned in the years from 1958 to 2000. The museum hopes to have as many Strawberry Queens as possible at the function, as special guests of honour – so if you were a Strawberry Queen or know someone who was, please contact Redland Museum on 3286 3494.

You may be interested in