What: Strawberry Rodeo

When: 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Delaware Avenue Complex, off Highway 30 West

Admission: Adults $10, 12 & under $5

For more information:

DAYTON, Tenn. - The 64th annual Tennessee Strawberry Festival kicks off this weekend with thrill-seeking family entertainment, organizers say.

Anita Hicks, the festival's rodeo coordinator, said the H Bar M Rodeo will entertain with "The Greatest Show on Dirt" roping and riding extravaganza.

Hicks said the rodeo is returning "by special demand" from previous attendees after its absence last year and will make its fifth appearance at the festival.

Festival organizers said last year's featured performance by escape artist Mario Manzini hadn't met their expectations to "bring in new people."

The rodeo will feature bareback and saddle bronc riding, along with King of the Rodeo bull riding. Other events include nightly barrel racing and steer wrestling.

Ray Kozak, a Guinness Book of World Records champion for making the "biggest lasso loop," will entertain, Hicks said.

Children can join the fun on Friday night by riding a mechanical bull and enjoying inflatable attractions on Saturday night, she said.

Organizers encourage parents to print off a ticket, free for one child with an adult purchase, at the Tennessee Strawberry Festival's Facebook page. Entrants also can sign up to win free T-shirts, carnival tickets and other prizes each night at the rodeo.

The Family Church in Dayton, Tenn., will sell homemade tacos and drinks on Friday night, and the Rhea County Sheriff's Department will sell hamburgers and hot dogs on Saturday evening. All sheriff's department proceeds will go to the county's Toys4Tots organization.

The Strawberry Fishing Derby will return this year on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Point Park in Dayton, Tenn.

Derby coordinator Darryl Smith said food and admission will be free. He said derby organizers wanted to offer a "free day for families to help in these tough economic times."

Participants should bring their own fishing poles, and winners will receive awards for most, biggest and smallest fish caught, Strawberry Festival coordinator Randy Wells said.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at