Strawberry queen, king reign at events

The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival held its 42nd Anniversary Ball on March 2 at Chesterton Square in Ponchatoula. Queen Heather Gonzalez, King Mark Landry, Grand Marshal Betty Stewart and 2013 Festival Chairman Ronnie Rocquin greeted those gathered.

The 2013 Row of Fame recipients were also named, organizers said. Each year since 2001, the board has chosen one or more individuals who have contributed significantly to the strawberry farming industry, the festival or the community in regards to the “celebration of the strawberry.”

This year’s recipients are Hollis and Betty Poche, past king and local strawberry farmers, and Wayne Howes, past king and board member.

The ball is the highlight of the festival’s annual royalty weekend, organizers said. More than 25 queens from festivals across the state attended. The queens toured the area, and visited Landry’s strawberry farm, shopped at the Antique Trade Days Arts & Crafts Fair in downtown Ponchatoula, attended a luncheon in their honor and were presented at the ball. Prior to leaving on Sunday, the queens attended a breakfast hosted by the board and then services at a church of the strawberry queen’s choice.