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      Strawberries all around

      The 65th annual Copper Country Strawberry Festival continued Saturday.

      The parade kicked off the day's events. Dozens of cars and trucks drove through downtown Chassell. Many had candy for the thousands lining the street. Local marching bands played music for the crowd. Some families decided to have fun and make floats of their own, and, of course, many had a strawberry theme.

      At the center of the festival, huge crowds filled the area, and many ran right to the strawberry shortcake line. The Chassell Lions Club organizes the event as a fundraiser to help the community. Lions members say that they use about 24 cases of Cool Whip and 1,200 quarts of strawberries every year. They normally sell close to 4,000 strawberry shortcakes. Emily Dunn and her baby, Josie, are visiting all the way from California.

      "It's great. We love berry picking. We don't get to do that in California, and that's something every kid should do," said Dunn.

      The festival also featured more than 20 vendors selling other foods and homemade crafts.

      Away from the strawberries, many chose to take a ride on the Agassiz. The Agassiz is a research vessel from Michigan Tech. General Motors and several other organizations donated money so that the university could offer free rides at the festival again this year. Michigan Tech professors gave passengers a brief science lesson about how scientists assess the health of the Great Lakes and what tools they use.

      "It was wonderful. It was really fascinating. We had a good time. We got to see some of the equipment that they use, and the boys were really excited to be able to get on the Agassiz," said Amy Roberts, from Lake Linden, who went on board with her two sons.

      The Agassiz's scientific excursion is a popular event every year at the Strawberry Festival. The crew offered eight rides this year.