By David Lindeman
TROY — This year’s Troy Strawberry Festival will be music to Nathan Walters’ ears.
Walters, the 2016 Troy Strawberry Festival chairman, announced this year’s theme at the 2016 festival kick-off held Tuesday night at the First Lutheran Church in Troy. His selection for this year’s festival: “A Cappella Berries.”
“Music has been very, very important to me for as long as I can remember, from the first day I went to preschool singing ‘Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,’” Walters said.
Walters further explained his love of music in a festival kickoff news release.
“I began my singing ‘career’ at Cookson Elementary, and continued on through Troy’s Junior High and High Schools,” Walters said. “The music teachers I had instilled in me a deep love of music, and singing continues to be very important to me. I look forward to sharing my passion with all of you!”
Walters went on to sing in the Bowling Green State University Chorus and continues to sing today as a member of the Melody Men Chorus.
The logo for the 2016 festival also was unveiled at the kickoff. Designed by Heather Taylor, it incorporates a musical theme with, naturally, strawberries.
“I’m so excited to share this year’s festival with the city of Troy and the whole world,” Walters said.
The festival will be held June 4-5 in downtown Troy and on the Miami River levee. The North Market Street Bridge once again will be closed to motor traffic during the festival.
Tuesday’s kickoff also included a summary of last year’s event by outgoing chairman Doug Stone and, keeping with the theme, performances by the Troy High School Barbershop Quartet and Ethos, the Wright State a cappella ensemble.
Visitors to the festival will have some new things to look forward to this year.
One change will be the location of a large stage in the area between the stadium and the levee, which will join the stage on Prouty Plaza as the main stages for entertainment. Both those locations also will include convenience centers, which will feature picnic tables, ATMs and phone charging stations.
Another change will be the return of a pre-festival event, the road rally.
“We’re bringing back the road rally,” Corie Schweser, the festival’s business manager, said. “It’s kind of like the Amazing Race, where people drive from place to place.”
Schweser said plans are being made to increase the capacity for one of the festival’s favorite attractions, strawberry doughnuts. Added equipment should make it possible for Troy Band Parents to add to the number of doughnuts that are made — and that’s saying something, since 15,000 dozen doughnuts were sold last year. They once again will be available on the visitor’s side of the stadium.
This year’s chairman is no stranger to the Strawberry Festival. Walters has been involved with the festival since 2000. He started as a volunteer and since then has been involved with the Troy Strawberry Festival Choir, opening ceremonies, the bowling tournament and Strawberry Idol contest. In 2008 he was asked to be the Chairman of Signage, and later went on to chair logistics and clubs and organizations.
He is a 2000 graduate of Troy High School and a 2004 graduate of Bowling Green State University. He and his wife Melissa have one child. He works at Clark State Community College as the IT client support manager.
This year will be the 40th year for the festival, held each year as a community gathering and as a way for local non-profit organizations to raise funds.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]