20th Strawberry Festival set for Saturday-Sunday

By Barbara Grider
Staff Writer
Posted 4/11/07

LOXLEY — The 20th Annual Baldwin County Strawberry Festival, held each year at the Loxley Municipal Park on Highway 59, is an event the entire county anticipates each year and this year is shaping up to be the best ever.

“Our festival …

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20th Strawberry Festival set for Saturday-Sunday


LOXLEY — The 20th Annual Baldwin County Strawberry Festival, held each year at the Loxley Municipal Park on Highway 59, is an event the entire county anticipates each year and this year is shaping up to be the best ever.

“Our festival continues to expand in those areas already enjoyed by our 70,000 guests from all over Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and north Florida,” Laurie Gruenloh, event chairman, said, noting that the festival is so popular with vendors that they had to turn away 150 vendors this year, something organizers said has never happened before.

Funds from the event benefit the Association for Retarded Citizens of Baldwin County and Loxley Elementary School and Gruneloh said last year the festival netted $20,000 each for ARCBC and the school.

An added feature this year is a fireworks display planned for Saturday night at dusk, sponsored by the town of Loxley, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an incorporated town.

There will be a Loxley exhibition area featuring a replica of one of the potato sheds that were so much a part of the town’s history; an old doctor’s carriage, photographs and historic memorabilia, illustrating the town’s history, as well as displays that show Loxley today and things planned for the future.

Katherine Breeden and Charlotte Griffin, who are coordinating the Loxley display are still seeking pictures and items (such as potato bags with logos) from the town’s past for the display.

“We are getting more items each day and we hope to have more by the time of the festival,” Breeden said.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the town is also sponsoring a fireworks display on Saturday evening at dusk.

Homemade strawberry shortcake will again be served and flats of strawberries will be on sale at the festival. Last year, the shortcake was so popular that supplies of strawberries ran low and organizers had to seek out more during the festival.

Gruneloh said with the increase in vendors and the popularity of the strawberry shortcake, they don’t expect to run out this year. “We sold about 12,000 strawberry shortcake last year and expect to sell even more this year, so we’re prepared,” she said, with a laugh.

Among the vendors (approximately 180 vendors are expected) will be favorites that come every year, as well as new vendors.

“We’ve got some really unusual vendors, including a man who is bringing blown glass and another who does crayon art, which looks just like an oil painting but is done with crayon. We have metal sculpture and wooden art and a large variety of very creative jewelry. Embroidery and home and garden items are always popular, so there will be several of those,” Gruenloh said.

Carnival rides and games, always popular with the children, will be set up, and Lil Miss Strawberry Queen, Logan Maver of Fairhope, and her court will be presented on Saturday at the entertainment stage.

The Baldwin County and Mobile County Scottish Societies will be present with their clan members in authentic Scottish dress. “They are sponsoring a performance by Pensacola’s McGuire’s Irish Pub Pipe Band in the entertainment stage area on Saturday. They said that strawberries are grown in Scotland and they wanted to participate,” she said.

A new category of the popular Classic Car Show will be British cars. Other categories include classic cars, street rods, sports cars, SUVs, custom and muscle cars, pro-street cars and pickup trucks, vintage and antique. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place winners in the car exhibition on Saturday.

Popular local band, Blind Dog Mike, will perform on Saturday before the fireworks and other entertainment on Saturday includes Second Wind, Perfect Image and McGuire’s Irish Pub Pipe Band. The Sunday entertainment includes Tommy Lee & Roland Cobbs, Curtis Coubella. Various acts will perform throughout both days in the special entertainment area.

Shuttle parking is available for just $1 on the east side of Highway 59 in downtown Loxley and signs will be posted in that area.

With everything coming together and with excitement over the festival building, Gruenloh said now the only worry is the weather.

“Last year, it was raining all around us and we didn’t get any rain. It literally made a circle around Loxley and then went on. We’re not anticipating any bad weather, but if it does happen, we’re still going to sell strawberry shortcake under the awning in front of the Civic Center,” she said.