Strawberry fest offers lots to see and do

By Barbara Grider
Staff Writer
Posted 4/18/07

I have always loved local festivals and one of my favorites is the annual Baldwin County Strawberry Festival held each spring at the beautiful Loxley Municipal Park.

This year’s festival was spectacular, despite the wind and some bad weather …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get the gift of local news. All subscriptions 50% off for a limited time!

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Strawberry fest offers lots to see and do


I have always loved local festivals and one of my favorites is the annual Baldwin County Strawberry Festival held each spring at the beautiful Loxley Municipal Park.

This year’s festival was spectacular, despite the wind and some bad weather Saturday afternoon that made the planned fireworks display impossible.

The park is an ideal venue because it offers shade for vendors and visitors alike and because the booths are set up along the park’s meandering walking trail — which also makes it easier to push baby strollers and for wheelchairs. There are always plenty of portable “facilities” throughout the park, as well as hand-washing stations.

Each year, we all look forward to the fresh strawberry shortcake and the chance to purchase fresh strawberries to take home. It’s a wonderful family-friendly event with something for just about everybody.

The addition this year of a Loxley exhibit, with the history of the town in photographs and artifacts displayed inside a replica of one of the potato sheds that used to line the railroad tracks in downtown Loxley, was very interesting. There were also displays showcasing the town’s many businesses, as well as some showing future growth.

Evelyn “Grandma” Driskell and Nadine Lovell were inside the potato shed on Sunday, dressed in period costumes. Their presence added to the fun of looking at the old pictures. An old potato sorter was on display and Driskell explained how the device worked.

As one who loves history, I could have spent much more time in the potato shed, but I had to get out and about and see all the booths because I love art as much as I love history.

The variety of arts and crafts was amazing to see. I fell in love with the unique birdhouses that were made of recycled parts of old houses. In fact, I recognized a molding medallion exactly like the ones on the windows and doors in our Victorian house in Georgia.

The artist had taken old tin shingles and put them on the roofs of the birdhouses. Old doorknobs, the medallions, turned banister spindles and all sorts of other pieces from old houses were used to decorate the two and three-story birdhouses. They were the epitome of “shabby chic” with their peeling paint patina and could easily be used as indoor decorations.

The Crayon Man, Todd Alan, was so friendly and took the time to explain to me how he created beautiful “paintings” with Crayola crayons. My husband loved the portraits of the alligators at Alligator Alley in Summerdale, but I loved one of a south Alabama cotton field ready for picking.

One booth featured scenes painted on old windows and in my mind, I made a display of one of the windows with one of the unique birdhouses. Although I didn’t buy either one, I certainly thought about it!

Saturday and Sunday were windy days and the tinkling of glass and metal wind chimes could be heard over the sounds of happy shoppers and the squealing of children who were on the carnival rides. The smell of fried onions, a warm, happy smell if ever there was such a thing, permeated the air.

One of the things I always look forward to at any arts and crafts festival is the interesting people meet — vendors, visitors and volunteers. This year, I wasn’t disappointed.

Ezell McLain of Orange Beach billed himself as “A World Class Piddler.” He could also have billed himself as “A World Class Storyteller.” He smiled, teased and made jokes as I visited with him, admiring his walking sticks and unusual lamps with electric meters mounted on them.

McLain told me (with a twinkle in his eye) that he feels he was responsible for starting the women’s liberation movement. He said he was on a subway in Japan, right after World War II ended, and noticed that all the Japanese men were sitting and all the women were standing. He said he made the men get up and give their seats to the women! I’m sure THAT was a first in Japan and I told him I certainly thought he could lay claim to changing the way women were treated in Japan.

It was fun to see all the people at the festival that I have gotten to know while covering city government in Loxley. Last year, when I went to the festival to take pictures, I didn’t really know anybody and this year, it seemed that each corner I turned, there was somebody greeting me.

I felt like I truly belonged, not as though I was simply doing my job.

Barbara Grider is staff writer for The Independent. Contact her at