Improved parking, heavy traffic at Pungo Strawberry Fest

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Organizers of the Pungo Strawberry Festival say an effort to increase the number of parking spots at the event has paid off, at least for now.

David Pace, a board member, says they increased parking spaces by roughly 33 percent, which adds of hundreds of spots near the festival.

In 2015, one of the largest parking lots remained empty because the land owner and festival could not reach an agreement. Festival goers reached out 10 On Your Side upset with the limited amount of parking. The festival told 10 On Your Side last May that the land owner did not agree with the contract, which included paying out some of the parking fees to the festival.

Pace says the festival uses their percentage of the parking fees to cover the roughly $100,000 price tag of the three-day event.

Pace says they’ve also added volunteers near the entrance of the festival to keep the flow of cars and people moving.

Still, drivers waited in almost hour-long traffic on Saturday on Indian River Road and Princess Anne Road. Festival organizers say the backups are common because of increased traffic on a two-lane roadway.

“With the expanded parking in the areas that we’ve entered into this year [and] the number of volunteers we have getting cars off the road as quickly as possible and into the lots, everything seems to be going just as planned,” said Pace.

In addition to an assortment of strawberry food items, the festival includes live bands, carnival rides, petting zoo, face painting and other activities. For more information on the family-friendly event, click here.

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