TROY — The weather cooperated for yet another Troy Strawberry Festival — creating the perfect sunny setting for the 42nd annual event held throughout the weekend on the levee and in downtown Troy.
Eric Roetter said after the close of the festival on Sunday that he couldn’t have asked for more this weekend as he fulfilled his lifelong dream of being the general chairman to the festival, which drew an estimated 175,000 visitors.
“The MVP for Strawberry Festival weekend was Mother Nature,” Roetter said. “I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend. From Friday to Sunday, to be exact.
“My year was only going to be as successful as the weather cooperating — and my year was successful because of that.”
Roetter said Friday night events at Treasure Island were well-attended, and showcased a venue many told him they had not yet visited.
“Overall, there was a fairly large crowd of people for the children’s parade,” Roetter said. “Velvet Crush had a really great turnout and had people up and dancing.”
Roetter said the events that he had hoped to move to Treasure Island for several years now were a highlight of his being chair. “Friday night, I felt was everything I was looking for,” he said.
Saturday saw the continuation of good weather and a huge crowd on the levee and downtown, Roetter said.
The bands downtown and entertainment on the levee stage were popular throughout the entire weekend, according to Roetter.
“Everybody really liked the music, and got into the music,” he said. “I had comments about the entertainment being stepped up all weekend long.”
Roetter said the Saturday events went well, including moving the annual bike tour from Sunday to Saturday.
“We had a lot of people say that they enjoyed it on Saturday,” he said. “It gave them an opportunity to still go to church on Sunday.”
The annual Troy vs. Piqua alumni game — with the Trojans taking home the win — also was moved from Friday night to Saturday morning.
“They had fun and that was what it is all about,” Roetter said.
The Li’l Miss and Mr. Strawberry competition this year was moved to downtown, where there was some shade for the young participants and visitors, Roetter said. “I think that went off very well as well,” he said.
Roetter said the nonprofits he spoke with — serving up strawberry delights of all kinds — said they fared well throughout the weekend, with several booths selling out repeatedly. He said The Future Begins Today booth brought more Strawberry Salsa to sell than ever before, and still sold out before the weekend’s end. The ever-popular pork chop booth, offered by the Miami East Cheerleaders, also sold out as usual, Roetter said.
On Sunday, the first Declare on the Square event brought possibly several thousand people to Prouty Plaza, according to Roetter.
“That’s a significant number of people,” he said. “There was some great praise music and we have already talked about having it again next year.”
Roetter said the shuttle stops were busier than ever and had a bit of a wait at times, something committee members will look at for 2019.
“But I didn’t hear of anyone too upset,” said Roetter, who said lots of people also used the shuttle between downtown and the levee.
Troy Police Department Captain Joe Long said the event went smoothly, minus some heat issues with people not being hydrated well enough. Only one incident, a small fight, where the participants were removed, was reported, he said.
Roetter said his favorite part about being the festival chair, though, was knowing what good causes all the money earned by the nonprofits would help.
“The whole reason we do this is supporting the nonprofits, and people were supporting the nonprofits big time,” he said. “Just seeing everybody having a good time, eating the food, enjoying the music, it was all great.
“My biggest thank you is to the people that come out to support the nonprofits and to help me fulfill the dream of being the chair, I couldn’t have done it without all the volunteers,” Roetter said.
On Sunday evening, as Roetter reflected on the weekend, he said the best advice he could offer 2019 general chairman Bruce Adamson would be to enjoy his time.
“Be patient and trust the process and allow the people that are in charge to guide him in being successful,” said Roetter, who said new festival manager Kailey Pour also will have her first festival under her belt next year. “And be prepared and just enjoy yourself.
“I made sure that I enjoyed it and took it all in, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.