In honor of its 25th anniversary, this year’s Strawberry Festival on June 22 boasts a new addition to the usual lineup of strawberries and ice cream. According to event chairs Peter and Peggy Yoars, a special strawberry sundae cone will make its debut. While the pair wouldn’t divulge the secret recipe, the sundae will include (you guessed it!) strawberries and ice cream in a large waffle cone.
“It’s a special addition for this year,” Mrs. Yoars said. “But if it goes over well, we might keep it around.”
The West Tisbury Congregational Church’s Strawberry Festival was first held in 1988 as a replacement for the church’s “summer fair.” Ben Moscow’s Thimble Farm provided the strawberries for the first Strawberry Festival. The high school baked shortcakes and Mad Martha’s and Ben and Bills’ provided the ice cream. Although strawberry distribution has since changed hands from Thimble Farm to Morning Glory and, finally, to Vineyard Cash and Carry, the ice cream is still supplied by Mad Martha’s and Ben and Bills’.
“450 pounds of strawberries is just too much for any of the Island farms,” Mr. Yoars said.
In keeping with tradition, members of the congregation will turn out as early as 8 a.m. to help prepare for the festival. This entails washing, cutting and culling strawberries, whipping cream and baking shortcake. Preparation has always been a community affair and this year will be no different.
“This year we have about 30-some people coming early to help us with the strawberries,” Mrs. Yoars said.
Although the volunteers arrive at 8 a.m., the Strawberry Festival begins at noon and will last until 4 p.m. Admission to the event is free and proceeds from concession sales will be used to fund church maintenance and community outreach programs.