‘Berry’ beneficial


Troy Strawberry Festival boosts local nonprofits

By Melanie Yingst and Cody Willoughby



Cody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Neda Davidson, center, dumps newly cleaned strawberries for volunteers Bob Gilburg, Jan Payton, Susie McKee, and Terry Millhouse to de-stem at the Troy Senior Citizens Center on Thursday.

Cody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Neda Davidson, center, dumps newly cleaned strawberries for volunteers Bob Gilburg, Jan Payton, Susie McKee, and Terry Millhouse to de-stem at the Troy Senior Citizens Center on Thursday.


Cody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Left to right, Zac Ganger, Natasha Weiffenbach, Steve Blackburn, and Gerri Holtzapple clean strawberries outside the Troy Senior Citizens Center on Thursday.


MIAMI COUNTY — For four decades, the Troy Strawberry Festival has filled the downtown streets and Great Miami River levee with thousands of foodies and families looking for those sweet and savory treats to kick-off the summer season.

Those funds then feed Miami County non-profits coffers well after the crowds have dispersed.

One of the new featured festival foods is Perdue chicken’s strawberry chipotle glazed chicken wings, which will benefit festival newbie First Place Food Pantry. The First Place Food Pantry servers families in Troy and Casstown zip codes.

Sharon Buse, a trustee with the First Place Food Pantry, shared how the organization was searching for ways to raise money for the pantry’s operations. The pantry served 18,225 people in 2017.

“It should be a good time and all proceeds go to the First Place pantry. We’d like to thank Perdue company for being so generous. We are looking forward to our first festival and for it to be a success,” Buse shared.

Buse shared how the board worked with the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce to find the perfect festival food match to kick off their first-ever Troy Strawberry Festival fundraiser and commended the chamber’s efforts to help them raise money over the weekend. The blue Perdue chicken food truck will be located on the levee and includes a chef on-site. Buse also said the food truck plans to provide a unique source of entertainment to lure in festival-goers to try their sweet and spicy strawberry-glazed wings.

“It sounds amazing, kind of like the (Future Begins Today) strawberry salsa on wings. I’ve been looking forward to it for a month!” she said.

Melissa Nichols, Riverside Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ community awareness and opportunities director shared how their partnership with award-winning Hickory River funds the “Friends for Riverside” levy and outreach campaigns. The organization has partnered with the Tipp City barbecue business for three years at the festival.

“We are excited to be a part of the Troy Strawberry Festival again, especially with our Hickory River partnership,” Nichols said. “Those funds help us inform the community about our services and encourage voters to continue supporting our levy, which more than 1,000 Miami County residents and their families depend upon for daily supports in their lives.”

Friends of Riverside will offer pulled pork sandwiches, nachos and strawberry shake-ups and some entertainment as well.

“The Riverside Bell Choir will also be performing at the festival at 3:15 p.m. on Sunday at the levee stage. We hope to see a big crowd there to close out the festival!” Nichols said.

The Troy Senior Citizens Center also will be offering its strawberry shortcakes Friday through Sunday, a tradition the center has the distinction of upholding since the festival’s very first year. More than 100 volunteers are working through Thursday and Friday to clean and slice strawberries, and prepare cakes.

Strawberry shortcakes will run $4.50 each at the center, with coffee and other beverages also available.

“We usually net somewhere around $6,500, and that helps with our ongoing expenses,” said executive director Tamara Baynard-Ganger. “Fortunately, this building is a parks building, and they take care of the heavy lifting, but we do cover office and in-building expenses ourselves. The festival helps us a lot with meeting our budget. We hope people come and enjoy the cakes and the air conditioning. Walk across the bridge — we’re worth it!”

Cody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Neda Davidson, center, dumps newly cleaned strawberries for volunteers Bob Gilburg, Jan Payton, Susie McKee, and Terry Millhouse to de-stem at the Troy Senior Citizens Center on Thursday.
https://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2018/05/web1_Seniors1-2.jpgCody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Neda Davidson, center, dumps newly cleaned strawberries for volunteers Bob Gilburg, Jan Payton, Susie McKee, and Terry Millhouse to de-stem at the Troy Senior Citizens Center on Thursday.

Cody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Left to right, Zac Ganger, Natasha Weiffenbach, Steve Blackburn, and Gerri Holtzapple clean strawberries outside the Troy Senior Citizens Center on Thursday.
https://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2018/05/web1_Cleaning1-2.jpgCody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Left to right, Zac Ganger, Natasha Weiffenbach, Steve Blackburn, and Gerri Holtzapple clean strawberries outside the Troy Senior Citizens Center on Thursday.

https://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2018/05/web1_2018-TSF_BerryPalooza_cmyk-4.jpg
Troy Strawberry Festival boosts local nonprofits

By Melanie Yingst and Cody Willoughby

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