Look for fresh strawberries, games, pony rides, entertainment, food booths, a silent auction, crafts, antique vendors and more at the 29th annual Old-Fashioned Strawberry Festival, a gigantic celebration of all things strawberry, on June 15 at the Gamber fire company’s carnival grounds.
This Strawberry Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is sponsored by Messiah Lutheran Church. Previously held on the grounds of Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department, according to festival coordinator Leigh Johnson, it was moved to provide more space for parking and additional vendors.
“This festival began when the church had a need to raise funds for a new building for our Sunday school and nursery school program,” Johnson said. “Once the building was completed, we continued to run the festival because it was a good, affordable family and community event.”
Johnson has worked with the festival committee for all of its 29 years. She said they’ve had as many as 10,000 people attend in the past. With pony rides, a silent auction, craft and antique vendors, a white elephant booth, a moonbounce, face painting, hay wagon rides, and children’s games — kids win a prize every time — plus strawberry shortcake, there is something for everyone.
According to Johnson, 2,200 pounds of strawberries were used last year. They sell about 1,700 quarts of fresh berries annually and slice about 500 pounds more for their strawberry shortcakes.
“They’re served with Hoffman’s ice cream, sliced strawberries and whipped cream,” she said of the cakes. “This year we also have funnel cakes. We sell baked goods and snowballs, too.”
They’ll also have a food vendor with breakfast sandwiches and lunch items.
Entertainment will include Merritt Dance, Carroll County Cloggers, Carroll County Dance Center, Contempic School of Ballet, Carroll Gymnastics, Maryland Tang Soo Do and Sykesville Americana Music.
Programs handed out throughout the day list the entertainment and the vendors at this all-day, rain-or-shine event.
Proceeds go to a variety of charities, based on need but including Carroll County Food Sunday, Escape Ministries, a local Boy Scout troop, the Rose Felter Scholarship, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Camps offered include the Art Expressions Camp, which runs June 24 to 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is for ages 9-12. The cost is $200.
“We are doing more STEAM art in the Art Expressions camp,” Sier said in reference to science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics fields. “This is the first year we are offering this camp. The program was put together by Susan Williamson, our visual arts coordinator.”
This weeklong camp offers arts and crafts plus STEAM projects. Artists will experiment with different mediums, enjoy gallery walks and have relaxing lunch breaks at King Park when weather permits.
The Theatre Camp runs from June 24 to 28, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and is for ages 8-10. The cost is $240.
“The Theatre Camp gives kids an opportunity to put together a full show within [the camp’s allotted time].”
Campers will produce a full-length play written just for the Arts Center stage, with full costumes and scenery. Students will learn improvisation games, drama exercises, and have technical theatre training. The big performance will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 28 and will be free and open to the public to attend.
The Kids Need More Art Camp has two sessions that run from July 8 to 12. There’s a 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. session and a 1 to 4 p.m. session. It’s for kids ages 5-8 and costs $150.
“The art camps give them an opportunity to try out a variety of projects,”Sier said. “It’s not just one project but many different projects.”
Kids will find a creative mix of craft projects, drawing and painting, games and more. They’ll experiment with different art mediums, allowing their imaginations to soar.
The Musical Theatre Camp runs from July 8 to 19, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and its for kids ages 10 to 12. The cost is $330.
The two-week camp immerses campers in the magic and excitement of live musical theatre. They’ll learn dialogue, music and choreography for a large-scale musical production. Each camper will have a performing role in the show and get hands-on experience in helping to create scenery, props and other technical elements for the show. The big performance will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 19, and will be free and open to the public.
Campers attending the Art Expressions, Theatre, or Musical Theatre camps will need to bring a non-perishable lunch to camp.
Arts Center Members receive a 10% discount. Families registering two or more children, or for multiple camps, receive $10 off each registration. Tuition assistance is available through the Tom Holder Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The menu includes turkey corn soup, turkey salad sandwiches, beef barbecue, pulled pork barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, strawberry shortcake, strawberry pies, ice cream and a variety of baked goods.
“It takes many volunteers to plan for and work at the festival,” committee member Nancy Dean said. “St. John's has been blessed by their help each year. We are so appreciative of those who have attended the festivals in prior years and helped to make each festival a success.”
Music will be provided by the Never-Too-Late Band from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and by the Alesia Band from 6 to 8 p.m., and there will be games for children.
“This is a great opportunity for people to come for an afternoon of good food, great music and a chance to visit with family members and friends,” Dean said. “We hope to see you on Saturday, June 8.”