No festival, but plenty of strawberries ‘ to go’

No festival, but  plenty of strawberries ‘ to go’

BY SUSAN HANAFEE – The annual Strawberry Festival on Boca Grande, sponsored by the United Methodist Women (UMW), will not be held this year. But there will be strawberries and Jan Myer’s famous shortcake “to go” after all.

From 12 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Methodist Church entrance on Gilchrist, prepared strawberries and shortcake – packaged separately – will be available for carry out. Each shortcake serving will be $10; cash only.

“We wanted to do something to continue the 23-year history of the festival,” said Becca DeRosa, chair of the 2021 event. “We couldn’t stage the bargain room or sell hot dogs and brats because of the coronavirus restrictions, but we decided we could prepare strawberries and offer them with shortcake on the side. Assembly is required.”

The strawberries will be prepared and distributed following all Covid safety precautions. 

“We only have 400 servings, so we are encouraging people to come early,” Becca says.

Selling strawberry shortcakes and having a few bargain items available at the church was how the historic event began more than two decades ago. It was a way to give back to the community while helping raise funds for the needy. Last year’s festival at the Community Center grounds had record attendance and brought in more than $70,000 to be donated to local charities.

“We just squeaked in our event before the virus shut down the country,” Becca says. “It was a huge success, and, as a result, we were able to help a local food bank and other organizations at a time when they desperately needed us.”

The UMW also will sponsor an art sale on Sunday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the church Fellowship Hall. Paintings donated from the homes of local residents, as well as some art objects, will be available for purchase. Checks only; no cash or credit cards. Visitors are asked to wear masks and social distance.

All money raised from the two events will be donated to local organizations that help women and children in need.