The tents are up. The streets are blocked off. Vendors will be filling the city streets with so many calories — I mean, strawberry concoctions — and other festival foods.
It’s the 41st annual Troy Strawberry Festival, folks.
From its humble beginnings on the levee to its expansion to downtown, the festival brings thousands of people to our city for 48 hours.
And during those 48 hours, those people bring money and an appetite.
These strawberries have been smothered, covered, topped and chunked in more ways than a Waffle House hash brown.
Wait … someone should corner the strawberry hash brown for next year’s festival. Trademark. OK.
Or! Strawberry tater tots. Trademark. Why hasn’t someone come up with a potato-based strawberry option for the festival? C’mon people! Wait. Waffle fries with strawberry ketchup. Bam! (TM). (Can you tell I miss my white, starchy carbs this week?)
Anyhow, here’s my guide to enjoy the festival in Troy Daily News fashion. As a member of the former Troy Strawberry Festival bed race champion team, I think I know my way around this festival. If you aren’t mentioned, I can easily be bought with free samples at any time.
Start Saturday morning off with a Troy Music Boosters donut. Then grab a dozen for your friends and family. The famous donuts have raised thousands of dollars for music opportunities one glazed donut at a time. Did you know that college professors use the strawberry cake delights as the perfect example of supply and demand in economic courses around the world? They are highly sought after and folks stand in long lines to grab a few donuts. They also freeze well, so keep that in mind and buy a few dozen more.
Then walk up and down the levee to find a vendor to wash down that donut. I recommend the Strawberry Coolers. I can’t tell you off the top of my head who makes them, but they are so refreshing.
You’ve probably worked up a sweat, so stop in at the Troy Senior Citizens Center for homemade Strawberry shortcakes. They have air conditioning; however, my suggestion is to take your bowl of awesomeness and snag a seat on one of the levee bench swings. Unless you get motion sick. Then you should probably just stay inside and enjoy the shortcake there.
Before you take off for downtown, be sure to try the festival’s new food on the block: Fudge Puppies. Yes. Fudge Puppies. The Troy High School swim team will be taking a “dip” with these waffles-on-a-stick, smothered in fudge and topped with whipped cream, caramel, syrups and, you guessed it, strawberries. They will be located near the Troy Senior Citizens Center, so grab a Fudge Puppy and take Market Street bridge over to downtown and mentally prepare yourself to start making some really hard food choices.
OK. This next one has nothing to do with strawberries, but it’s my personal favorite: The Black Jack Grille pork chop sandwich. You will have to stand in line. You will thank me later. Maybe do some calf raises to keep burning off that Fudge Puppy while you wait. This pork chop sandwich is the highlight of my festival food trek each year. Plus it helps out my Viking cheerleaders. I call it a win-win.
You are probably tapped-out food-wise for the time being after that amazing pork chop sandwich. But you should head over and buy a jar of strawberry salsa from The Future Begins Today booth, then buy a few jars of strawberry BBQ sauce from those happy-go-lucky folks at the Troy Noon Optimist.
Your hands maybe getting full, but I promise you, you’ll power through.
Stop and chat a while with a Troy Kiwanis member as they whip up a strawberry milkshake for you. You’ll need something to sip on as you wander over to buy a quart or bucket full of fresh berries from the Newton Band Boosters.
Top off the post-lunch pork chop with The ARC of Miami County strawberry burrito. They are amazing.
Strawberry pickles, cookies, cheesecake and all things berry await those who feast on the festival’s goodies and support the clubs and organizations that benefit from the weekend sales all year round.
And besides, it almost was a sweet corn festival, folks! Wait, strawberry butter-dipped sweet corn!(Trademark!)
So get out and enjoy the festival — one berry at a time!
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Her second favorite festival is Minster Oktoberfest, where you’ll find her at the Chuck-a-Luck table all night long. That’s her Vegas, baby!