All things strawberry to be celebrated at annual event

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Jun. 2, 2011
Contributed
South Windsor Berry Old Fashioned Strawberry Soda makes its debut at the Strawberry Fest. Sold by the bottle or in a six pack, it is a special formula by Avery's Beverages in New Britain. It will be available in regular and diet. Photo by Cary Prague. - Contributed Photo

The Strawberry Fest and Craft Fair is celebrating its 29th anniversary on Saturday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rotary Pavilion at Nevers Road Park in South Windsor. Admission is free to this all-day event, which has activities for everyone and vendors of all types.

The South Windsor Strawberry Fest and Craft Fair is believed to be the biggest strawberry festival in the state. “It’s good family fun,” said co-organizer Cary Prague, “and it’s not very expensive.” Admission is free, as are many of the activities, and the food items are being kept at last year’s prices.

The event is sponsored by the Republican Town Committee, with Billy Carroll, Kathy Daugherty, John Mitchell and Prague leading the 30 volunteers.  Details on the day’s events can be found on the website swstrawberryfest.org. “I think the word’s getting around,” said Prague, “that we have a really fun time.” Visitors are expected not just from neighboring towns, but neighboring states, as well.

More than 170 crafters and artisans will be at the park to display and sell their handmade items. There will also be plenty of food vendors, including strawberry shortcake, strawberry salad, strawberry ice and strawberry kettle korn. There will also be a special strawberry soda from Avery’s Beverages in New Britain, specially named South Windsor Berry. The soda will be packaged in a unique commemorative bottle, a first for the South Windsor festival.

One of the event’s highlights is the fifth anniversary of the Little Miss Strawberry Pageant. The entrants are judged on the cutest strawberry-themed costume. There are four age divisions. Each division is limited to the first 20 children registered. Baby Miss Strawberry registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the pageant beginning at 9:45 a.m. Registration for the Tiny Miss Strawberry (12-to 24-month-olds) begins at 9:45 a.m., with the pageant beginning at 10 a.m. Little Miss Strawberry contestants (2 to 4 years old) begins at 10:15 a.m., with the pageant taking place at 10:30 p.m.  Four- to 8-year-olds entering in the Miss Strawberry contest may register at 10:30 a.m. for the final pageant at 10:45 a.m. All participants will receive a memento of the pageant, and winners of each division will receive a crown and sash, along with a gift card from Toys R Us.

Activities will be provided for kids of all ages throughout the day.  Joey D! will entertain from 11 a.m. until noon at the Pavilion with a children’s magic show and from 12:30 to 4 p.m. with balloon artistry. There will also be an expanded petting zoo with rabbits, lambs, alpacas, goat kids and oxen. The South Windsor Fire Department will be on-hand all day with its safety smokehouse. Many other activities are scheduled throughout the day, as well, including face-painting and the new Strawberry Express train.

Skyline Drive will provide musical entertainment from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., playing country music throughout the afternoon. During the band’s breaks, the Strawberry Singers will provide musical interludes.

Brightly-colored, commemorative t-shirts will be available this year.  The t-shirts depict the most popular events from the fest over the past 28 years. Local artist Cheryl Haraghey designed the t-shirts, which will be available for $15. Haraghey also designed the South Windsor sesquicentennial t-shirts in 1995.

Some 2,000 pounds of strawberries will be used for the strawberry shortcakes and salads. Volunteers are needed for hulling the strawberries from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 10, at the Rotary Pavilion and for setting up chairs, tables and tents. Pizza and drink will be provided for the volunteers. Anyone interested in signing up to volunteer is asked to call Cary Prague at 860-985-5180.


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