Seed you there!

40 years of Troy’s Strawberry Festival (a berry good year!)

By Emma Jarman
Forty years ago, a small group of nonprofit organizations–mostly civic clubs such as Kiwanis and Rotary Club—in Troy, Ohio, came together to host the first Strawberry Festival. The handful of vendors gathered up all their strawberries, baked them into pies, folded them into cakes, injected them into cupcakes, shook them with lemonade and sold them to raise funds for their annual programs. The first festival drew around 40,000 attendees, so they decided to host another one. This year, June 4 and 5, 40 years since the first “small” gathering, that same handful of vendors, plus about 60 more will come together again.

“You know how that happens,” relates Corie Schweser, Troy Strawberry Festival business manager. “It just grows and grows and grows. And so now, 40 years later, we have over 70 nonprofits and food vendors that sell regular items, hamburgers, hotdogs, brats, those kinds of things, but over 25 of them now will sell anything related to strawberries.”

The list of strawberry-related food items for sale at the festival this year is impressive. Look for strawberry pizza, strawberry burritos, strawberry cannoli, strawberry salsa and strawberry barbeque sauce. Kids Read Now has strawberry swirled cupcakes and strawberry chocolate chip cookies; Knights of Columbus is bringing strawberry pickles; Troy Christian Schools will sell strawberry floats; the Troy Lions Club will offer strawberry glazed strawberry donut holes; the list goes on and on, with almost every civic club and nonprofit in the Troy area from the Boy Scouts to the Rotary Club to the Baseball Parents Boosters bringing their finest strawberry cuisine, as well as traditional fair food and drinks.

A few of the vendors are not local nonprofits—you will see Chic-Fil-A at the festival—however, each commercial vendor has committed to donate a portion of the proceeds they net at the event to a local nonprofit. Local strawberry producer Fulton Farms supplies most, if not all, of the strawberries for the festival.

Furthermore, if there is a specific product you’re looking to find at the Troy Strawberry Festival, you can hit up the information booth where a full list of vendors can be referenced to find exactly what you’re looking for. Schweser recommends hunting down the strawberry cheesecake.

“I love the strawberry cheesecake,” she gushes, “and I’m not really a big fan of cheesecake but the strawberry cheesecake is great. It’s like whipped creamy yummy cheesecake and it’s got the really good graham cracker crust to it.”

Shockingly, with all the strawberry foods to sample, the festival is not only about the eats! There is a full entertainment schedule showcasing a number of local talents. The festival theme is “A cappella berries,” so it’s only fitting that the Saturday night concert be a Dayton cappella group Fourth Avenue. Other live entertainment acts include the Home Grown Talent competition finals on the Prouty Plaza Stage downtown at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, preceded by No Promises, and followed by Mati Lyons and Shades of Gray.

Sunday, Colin Richards, Jerry Mullins, Cory Breth and Ty Cooper will perform on the Prouty Stage. On the Main Stage at the Levee in Memorial Stadium, the Gem City Chorus, Little Miss & Mr. Strawberries, Home Grown Talent 2016 winners and Fourth Avenue will perform Saturday, followed by Honey Creek Cloggers, Electrobeck, Black Cloud Syndrome and The Meal Tickets Sunday.

For more interactive experiences, join in on the pie eating contest, the softball tournament, Berry Bike Tour, Classic 10k run, diaper derby or the junior golf tournament among a number of other family friendly and fun events.

“The festival is located in the downtown of Troy and along the Miami River levy so you’ve got a bridge, Market Street Bridge, that connects these two components,” says Schweser. “So you have this vast area that’s very wide for families and strollers and wagons to fit in. There’s something for everybody. We’ve seen generations come as groups. The fathers may sit down with the kids at the picnic tables while the mothers and grandparents they go walking around to the over 100 different arts and crafts. You’ve got the picnic tables by the stage so you can sit there, enjoy, go back, get something else. There’s events on the levee, the events downtown, and then we have a huge kids area that has a climbing wall, that has face painting, that has all kinds of activities for kids.”

There truly is something for everyone. And did I mention, it’s all free? Everything from admission to entertainment to arts and crafts, the shuttle, the kids area, it’s all free!

Tens of thousands of people have been flocking to Troy to support the local nonprofits of Miami County and celebrate all things strawberry for 40 years, and it only gets bigger and better with each go-around.

“There’s no reason why you shouldn’t come,” says Schweser. “You’re going to get a great view of the city of Troy and we’ve got wonderful downtown businesses, too. So come in, enjoy the city, relax. And if you don’t have enough time to stay, come visit us again!”

The Troy Strawberry Festival will take place rain or shine June 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Service pets only, please. For more information on the Troy Strawberry Festival visit or find Troy Strawberry Festival on Facebook.
Reach DCP freelance writer Emma Jarman at

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Emma Jarman

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