Festival kicks off to “berry” good time

Anthony Weber | Troy Daily News

A children’s parade helped kick-off the Troy Strawberry Festival during the Friday night celebration at Troy Memorial Stadium. The festival continues throughout the weekend on the levee and downtown area.

TROY — The 2015 Troy Strawberry Festival opening ceremonies went without a hitch, although there was some airborne whipped cream.

The night started off with the children’s parade, which was led by Strawberry Festival Queen Bobbi-Jo Myers and her first and second attendants, Maggie Cook and Caroline Elsass-Smith, and included a guest appearance from the Troy Pop Rocks.

Cook and Elsass-Smith shared in the queen’s court duties, which include interacting with the children and mingling with festival-goers.

“We do a lot of interaction with them,” Elsass-Smith said. “The pie eating contest is also a lot of fun.”

As soon as she said it, the three were called to compete before the crowd at the Troy Memorial Stadium. All sharing laughs and song lyrics to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” the three hunkered down into their pies bef0re the cheering crowd.

It was a tough battle, but Cook was the pastry victor.

Queen’s Court Advisor Linda Dunfee remarked on how the girls were having a great time at the kickoff and with each other.

“They started blending well when they first started doing the pageant and they continued with it, which was fantastic,” she said. “It was like they’ve known each other for a long time.”

While members of the community were coming up to take their turn at the pie eating contest, festival-goers were jumping on the strawberry doughnut sales and a few of the smaller members were jumping in the bounce house.

Early in the evening, Mayor Mike Beamish led the traditional dyeing the fountain red for the festival, which included some shared laughter and precise use of food coloring.

The festival spanned across Prouty Plaza and the levee, which Chairman Doug Stone said was planned and executed with the help of many individuals.

“I have approximately 50 chairmen that I use to organize all the events,” he said. “It’s very much a collaborative effort.”

Stone said the festival kickoff didn’t have as many people, but that it was still a nice hometown celebration.

Troy resident Nick Bertke has come to the festival every year for the 20 or so years he and his wife have lived in Troy. This year another member of the family came to the kickoff with him.

“My grandson Easton, who’s two, has come to the festival every year,” Bertke said. “His favorite part is getting to go in the bounce house.”

Bertke and his grandson were also looking forward to seeing the big wheels races.

“It’s just a lot of fun to watch and a good time,” he said.

The festival will continue through the weekend in Troy.