Weekly Feature

2018-06-13 / Front Page

Strawberry Festival set for June 20

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

The 19th annual Strawberry Festival will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at Island Park in the Village of Williamsville.

The event is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Williamsville.

Taking the lead as chairman of the club’s 2018 Strawberry Festival will be Stephen Blass.

“It’s really a kickoff to summer,” Blass said. “It’s also a way for Williamsville Rotary to give back to the community, and the community looks forward to it every year.”

He said all of the proceeds raised from the event will be donated to Amherst-based organizations.

Beginning the morning of the event, all of the fruit is manually cut by dozens of Rotarians and area volunteers. The strawberries are then placed in containers to create an all-natural sauce to pour over the ice cream.

Blass said there are about 42 flats of strawberries ordered for the event.

“Just to cut everything takes about five hours for us and the volunteers,” he said, adding that more than 1,000 strawberry sundaes were sold during the 2017 event.

The event’s sponsors include Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream, Wardynski Meats and Tops Markets, as well as West Herr, which is sponsoring the use of a van to transport items to Island Park.

Food offered at the festival includes cotton candy, sundaes, snow cones, popcorn, hot dogs and soft drinks. Live music will be performed throughout the event for festival guests to enjoy.

“We really aim for an all-around family-friendly event,” Blass said.

The Buffalo Zoo will also be at the event, featuring its traveling petting zoo, and the Amherst Police Department will have a presence with an interactive demonstration.

Buffalo Bounce House will have an activities area set up for children to use.

Tickets for strawberry sundaes and other items will be available at the entrance to Island Park’s large pavilion. Meals are $6 per person and $4 for children 12 and younger.

As per the festival’s tradition, the strawberry sauce left over will be sold in quart containers near the end of the evening. Any extra nonperishable food will be donated to Gateway Longview.

“We don’t want anything to go to waste,” Blass said.

He added that volunteer opportunities are available. Volunteers are needed for tasks such as strawberry cutting, food preparation, taking meal orders and monitoring the bounce house.

For further information about the event, including how to become a volunteer, visit the organization’s Facebook page by searching “Rotary Club of Williamsville.”

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