TROY — The rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those working, helping or selling at this year’s Troy Strawberry Festival.
According to TSF Manager Corie Schweser and Chairman Nathan Walters, the rain might have slowed things down a little late Saturday, but Sunday more than made up for it.
Schweser said due to the rain and incoming lightning on Saturday, organizers, along with the Troy Police Department, decided it was best to shut the festival down early, closing the levee and downtown about 45 minutes early. She said after it was announced, festival traffic went very smoothly and the entire event was shut down within approximately 30-45 minutes. While no events were canceled, Schweser said the entertainment for the evening, the band Fourth Avenue, did have to end their set early.
Sunday brought with it lower humidity, Schweser said, which made many vendors and visitors alike happy. She said the attendance was much better on Sunday, evening things out for the vendors.
“Non-profits were selling out and people were loving the arts and crafts,” said Schweser, who said the Troy Music Boosters’ famous strawberry doughnuts sold out at about 4 p.m. Sunday.
Walters said talking to some of the clubs and organizations, they also told him they were pleased with the entire weekend.
“After a little bit of rain Saturday, today turned out beautiful,” Walters said. “It turned out to be a pretty good weekend overall.”
Schweser said she heard lots of positive feedback from festival-goers throughout the weekend. Many said they were returning to the festival after years of not attending, and were very happy with the additional downtown layout to spread the grounds out more, she said. Those who had never been to the festival — or even Troy — said the city was beautiful and many said they would come back outside of festival weekend for a visit. She said she also heard many positive comments on the festival’s parking sites for the shuttles, and the fact that the shuttle dropped visitors right downtown.
“People were very happy with the shuttles,” she said.
Schweser said the Troy Strawberry Festival Committee plans to join the Ohio Festivals and Events Association, and the president of the association came in for the festival for an evaluation. Schweser said the president was extremely impressed with how many of the food booths actually revolved around strawberries — approximately 25 of the 70.
“She was blown away by the city and the festival,” Schweser said. “She said it was such a beautiful city and the people were so courteous.
“She said there were a lot of strawberry options, which was good, because she often sees festivals that have few items that actually represent the festival’s theme.”
As the festival wrapped up Sunday, Schweser was walking near the fountain, humbled by the attendance.
“It’s just amazing how many people have attended. It was just an amazing day,” Schweser said late Sunday. “I know people were buying and eating, because the trash cans are full and people all over have bags in their hands.”
Overall, Schweser and Walters consider the weekend a success. Both, along with other organizers, also are thankful to all the sponsors, the city of Troy and Troy City Schools, as well as all those who volunteer.
“We absolutely have to thank all the volunteers that helped make the festival possible. We are blessed to have this festival to help the many non-profits in the county raise much needed funds,” said Schweser, who said the festival’s final figures won’t be available until July.
Walters agreed, thanking many in his closing statements. “I am thankful for the sponsors and volunteers, the festival-goers, the arts and crafts vendors and the non-profits,” he said. “They have all been fantastic to work with.”
Walters said his favorite part of being the 2016 chairman was picking the theme. Walters chose “A Capella Berries” to bring his love of barbershop singing and his love of the festival together.
“Being able to blend several of my hobbies into one weekend was something really special,” he said.
Walters, who has been involved with the festival since 2002, also considers being the chairman of the 40th anniversary event an honor.
“It has just been a fantastic experience. It’s been an honor to be the chairman for the 40th year. That, too, has been really special.”