Berries, bargains and much more: The Strawberry Festival returns on March 4

■ STAFF REPORT.    

Take 55 flats of strawberries, 55 dozen biscuits, 48 cans of whipped topping, 24 cases of hotdogs and brats, and you have a few of the makings for the 19th annual United Methodist Women’s Strawberry Festival on Saturday, March 4.

Hundreds of volunteers are already working on this year’s festival, which will be held at the Boca Grande Community Center grounds. The festivities start at 9 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. The live auction begins at 2 p.m. in the tent near the Crowninshield House.

As always, the event will include the popular bargain and boutique shops, homemade baked goods, Dazzling Digs, where visitors can scoop for lovely pieces of jewelry, the Book Nook, fun events for kids and a furniture sale. This year’s silent auction will include fishing trips with some of the island’s top guides, dinners at local restaurants and in the homes of island “chefs,” paintings, crafts, jewelry and much more.

Donations for the Strawberry Festival’s bargain and boutique shops are being accepted Monday through Thursday in the Methodist Church office on Third Street. On the Thursday and Friday before the event, contributions can be dropped off at the Community Center starting at 9 a.m.

All this fun goes for good causes. In 2016, the Methodist Women gave away $55,000 to local and worldwide charities.

“It’s amazing how this community comes together for one day to raise the kind of money that we do, and it is all given to women and children in need,” says Gloria Mitchell, one of three individuals chairing this year’s event. “We so appreciate the contributions from the generous inviduals in the Boca Grande community.”

Also leading the festival are Jane Caple and Joy Williams. Kathi Hustedt is president of the United Methodist Women. Other committees and their members include:

Auctions: Jane Caple, Susan Hanafee, Larry Hannah, Chris Hyde and Palmer Long. Bake sale: Pam Bayly, Marsy Doan and Ann Treat. Bargains: Deb Houck, Linda Long and Jan Myers. Books: Joan Senior. Boutique: Dian Klepser and Ruth Paschall. Dazzling Digs: Marjorie Moore and Judy Thomas. Furniture: Madelaine McCrady and Candy Rost. Grilled food: David Senior and Ed Paxton. Community outreach: Jim and Jo Ann Nordlie. Publicity: Sara Moll. Set up/take down: Richard Houk. Strawberries: Pam Hannah and Judy Sandbo. Volunteers: Pam Payne, Melinda Thies and Marilyn Witt. Wine Pull: Julie and Rocky Dedrick. Youth: Tabitha Jordan.