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21 June, 2024
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Berry bliss awaits you on May 24

Join the fun at Deryneia’s free Strawberry Festival this Friday!

Charalambos Stylianou

The sweet aroma of ripe strawberries will fill the air as Deryneia gears up for the annual Pancyprian Strawberry Festival on Friday, May 24, 2024, starting at 4:45 PM. With free entrance for all, this cherished event has grown into a vibrant celebration of the town’s agricultural heritage and community spirit since its inception in 1999.

The festival first took root under the leadership of then-Mayor Flora Ioannou.  It was created to honor Mitsios Giannoukos, a pioneering strawberry producer from the early 1950s, whose efforts laid the foundation for Deryneia’s reputation as a strawberry hub. Over the years, the festival has flourished, drawing thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the fruits of Deryneia’s labor.

Supporting local growers

Strawberry growers in Deryneia face significant challenges, especially with rising production costs driven by escalating energy and raw material prices. Municipal Secretary Gabriela Polycarpou explained, "The festival plays a crucial role in supporting our farmers by promoting strawberries as a premium local product, helping to increase their market visibility and sales."

Strawberries are celebrated for their vibrant color, delightful aroma, and nutritional value. However, concerns about pesticide use are ever-present. "Our growers are committed to environmentally friendly practices," Polycarpou assured. "They limit harmful chemicals and embrace modern cultivation techniques like hydroponics and outdoor under-cover growing, which rely on biological nutrient solutions and protect our essential pollinators."

Deryneia’s strawberries stand out for their exceptional taste, bright red color, and high vitamin content. "Our strawberries are grown without growth regulators, using organic products and beneficial insects," Polycarpou said, adding that varieties from Florida and California are particularly renowned for their size and quality.

Not just about the strawberries

The festival isn’t just about strawberries, it’s a cultural extravaganza. This year’s event, hosted by Christos Karaiskos and Niki Antoniou, promises stellar performances by renowned Greek and Cypriot artists, including Yiannis Dionysiou, Aspasia Stratigou, and Dimitris Loizou with his band. Dance groups and volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure a memorable experience for all attendees.

Visitors can indulge in a variety of strawberry-based treats. "We’ll be offering free fresh strawberries and strawberry liqueur," Polycarpou revealed. "Kiosks will also serve an array of products like juices, jams, sweets, ice cream, and other local delights."

Economic and tourism impact

The Pancyprian Strawberry Festival is more than a celebration, it’s a boost to Deryneia’s economy and tourism. "Our goal is to have our strawberries and their derivatives recognized as a Protected Designation of Origin product," Polycarpou explained. The festival’s success has significantly enhanced the town’s visibility and economic development, drawing tourists and promoting local pride.

As the festival continues to grow, it remains a vibrant testament to Deryneia’s agricultural legacy, cultural richness, and community spirit. It brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate the unique charm of Deryneia’s strawberries, ensuring that this beloved tradition endures for generations to come.

Cyprus  |  strawberry  |  festival  |  Larnaca  |  music  |  dance  |  tourism

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