TROY — For some, it’s just strawberry-filled food, fun, and fanfare, but for more than 70 nonprofits, it’s the biggest berry-filled boost to their general fund of the year.
Miami County’s nonprofit organizations are counting on sell-out crowds this weekend to fund projects and activities throughout the rest of the year.
Troy Senior Citizen Center spent Thursday morning slicing and dicing 1,500 pounds of strawberries for its famous strawberry shortcakes.
Chairwoman Cecilia Kehres said Thursday was the center’s busiest day to prepare for the crowds this weekend.
“We’re getting our berries all sliced and ready for the mixing process. We save the mixing until the day of the festival so the strawberries are fresh,” Kehres said. “We sold out early last year, so we ordered the same amount this year.”
Festival patrons can feast on the fresh strawberry shortcake in the center’s air-conditioned hall — the only place on the festival grounds to feature a cool place to enjoy a strawberry treat.
Tamara Baynard-Ganger, the center’s executive director, said the profits fund the center’s activities and expenses all year long.
“This is our major fundraiser of the year,” Baynard-Ganger said. “We are grateful that this Strawberry Festival happens here so that we, too, can have a fundraiser. We couldn’t do what we do without the Strawberry Festival.”
The ARC of Miami County counts on the thousands of Troy Strawberry Festival’s patrons to feast on its famous strawberry “burritos.” The sales of the crepe-like dough filled with strawberry filling pays for the ARC of Miami County’s bowling leagues held throughout the year. The berry burritos pay for the ARC’s adult members to participate on 16 teams in the bowling league at Troy Bowl.
“It’s our largest fundraiser of the year,” Rosemary Saunders said. “It’s all volunteer-based and all of the money raised goes for their bowling leagues. It’s the biggest way we make money and we are hoping for another good year. Last year was our best year ever with the good weather and being downtown.”
Saunders shared that the downtown location has increased the organization’s profits since moving from the levee. The profits from the festival also pays for the organization’s parties and other recreation opportunities.
For Scout leader William Stoltz, sending Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts to camp rides on its flavored popcorn sales each year. Boy Scout Troop 365 has kettle corn on the levee and downtown this weekend. The troop also partnered with the Knights of Columbus to sell strawberry pickles.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. They use the money for summer camps and Eagle Scout projects,” Stoltz said. “The Eagle Scout projects fund community work such as landscaping, benches and other projects they do throughout the year.”
Stoltz said this year the troop is hoping to send four members to the national Boy Scouts of America “Jamboree,”which costs approximately $1,400 per member to attend.
“We hope people come out to the levee or downtown booths to support the boys,” Stoltz said.
For a list of foods, booth locations and entertainment options, check out the Troy Strawberry Festival guide online at www.troydailynews.com.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews