By MaryAnn Kromer
BLOOMVILLE - The annual Strawberry Festival at Bloomville United Church of Christ is slated for 4-9 p.m. June 18 at the church, 31 N. Marion St., Bloomville. The Rev. Cathy Wirth said it is the 54th year for the event, which is to offer "something for everyone."
A 5K "Berry Run" has been added for 2011, and Wirth said more than 50 people already are signed up. Registration opens at 3 p.m. with the run/walk at 4 p.m. The cost is $15 per runner, and awards are to be given in various categories. Food is to be served beginning at 5 p.m. with strawberry pie, shortcake and other berry delights.
"We will have homemade food made from 'way back' recipes," Wirth said. "Besides sandwiches, we will offer 'the pig.' That is three scoops of ice cream with strawberries and biscuits."
The family carnival also is to have games and a mini golf course. The gospel quartet One Voice is to perform two shows during the festival. Wirth said the festival attracts many people from the area.
"Bloomville has lost their school, so we're trying to reach out to the community and fill that vacuum," she added.
The church houses Village Day School and has been involved with the food pantry in Bloomville. Now in her fifth year as full-time pastor, Wirth said the pantry definitely has filled a need.
When it opened, 50 families came in for assistance. Lions Club members also help, and a member of Bloomville UCC manages the pantry, which is open the third Monday of each month.
The money raised at the festival is to be tithed to a mission. The church is sending 15 high school students to St. Louis later this month to work in a Head Start program, at a domestic violence shelter and at a food pantry warehouse.
Wirth said they must pay their own way for the trip and bring additional donations for the charities.
"They have raised $5,500 since January ... with car washes, bake sales and raffles. They made pillows and sold them for $25. That represents the cost to house a student for one night," the pastor said. "We're also starting a fund to redo our steeple."
For more information about the Strawberry Festival, call Traci at (419) 448-8555 or the church at (419) 983-2371.