TROY — Ahead of the 42nd Annual Strawberry Festival, hundreds of interchanging volunteers are working hard to prepare one of the event’s most iconic confections — strawberry donuts.
The donuts have become a tradition nearly as long-standing as the festival itself, regularly fried and sold at Troy Memorial Stadium by the Troy Music Boosters since 1980. Kathy McIntosh, who has directed band at Troy High School for 20 years, has helped orchestrate the donut fry and sales for “about the last 18 years.”
“It is very popular,” McIntosh said. “We’re lucky enough to truly be a tradition. For a lot of Strawberry Festival goers, it’s the number one thing they want to get. I’ve had at least ten people contact me to ship them donuts all over the United States.”
During last year’s festival, the crew sold just over 16,000 dozen, amounting to over 192,000 donuts.
“We hope to make that many this year,” McIntosh said. “We have three fryers, and can do about 1,000 dozen every five to six hours. If you get a lot of experienced people on the fryers, you can crank out a thousand dozen in five hours or less.”
Troy Music Boosters’ volunteers are producing donuts at the location 24 hours a day until the festival, trading out the crew in four-hour shifts with fifteen minutes of overlap.
“The overlap is so that the people coming in can learn from the people who are leaving,” McIntosh said. “We ask that every student and every parent work one four-hour shift, and that’s all we ask them to do all year long. The band people set up everything and cook everything. The orchestra and choir parents and students clean up everything. We also have a lot of our alumni come back and help us, so it’s truly a team effort.”
McIntosh explained that strawberry donut sales have become essential in funding Troy High School’s music programs every school year.
“All three organizations use that money to support the organization all year long,” McIntosh said. “The school helps us with what we need, but this money is used for all types of things. The band uses it to travel quite a bit. We use it for music and copyrights. Band is expensive, so we’re really lucky and fortunate to have something like this.”
Strawberry donuts can be picked up Thursday and Friday 7a.m. – 1p.m. at the donut drive-thru, located on the home side of Troy Memorial Stadium. Donuts are $9 a dozen at the drive-thru, and purchases are cash-only.
Donuts will be available Friday evening through Sunday evening at the concession stand under the visitors’ bleachers, and will run $10 a dozen.
For more information on the 42nd Annual Strawberry Festival, visit www.gostrawberries.com.