Strawberry Fair gets a good watering
AMENIA â€” Itâ€™s been a long time since Ameniaâ€™s annual Strawberry Fair saw rain, as many people observed last Saturday, June 12.
This was in reference, of course, to the precipitation coming down right over their heads, which ranged from a slight drizzle to an outright downpour. But that didnâ€™t stop the Strawberry Fair from attracting visitors.
Some came with umbrellas. One came with a Batman-style rain coat. Others, like Webutuck High Schoolâ€™s cheerleaders, didnâ€™t care about the rain: Their fundraiser this year involved a machine that, when triggered by hitting a target with a softball, sent the cheerleader falling into a tub of water. The rain probably wasnâ€™t much of a deterrent there.
The Strawberry Fair, in its 37th year, is put on by the Womenâ€™s Association of the United Presbyterian Church in Amenia.
â€œThis is our main fundraiser,â€ event organizer Helen Cook said while sitting under a tent early Saturday morning. â€œWe depend on it.â€
Cook echoed many fair-goersâ€™ sentiments about the weather.
â€œVery seldom does it rain, and weâ€™ve been so fortunate,â€ she said. â€œBut there seem to be quite a few people walking around so I think people still came out to support it.â€
Vendors lined the churchâ€™s parking lot, and a magician and exotic petting zoo kept everyoneâ€™s mind off the rain.
Just across the lawn the Amenia Free Library had set up its annual book and bake sale as well as its silent auction.
The baked goods sale did better this year than last, but the book sale made less money, Library Board Trustee and Treasurer Charlotte Murphy reported.
â€œThe weather didnâ€™t help, but we did have a lot of people,â€ she said. The numbers werenâ€™t tallied yet for the silent auction, but at least 45 businesses contributed the 60 items up for auction.
As the main attraction, two full palettes of strawberries were donated by Freshtown and plenty of people went home with a box or two of the fresh and fragrant fruit.
â€œThis is pretty well-attended,â€ said store director Lesley Rohan, â€œas it should be. Itâ€™s the official start of summer in the Harlem Valley.â€
Just then Amenia resident Cynthia Waaler approached the booth for a few boxes of strawberries.
â€œI came for the strawberries and I also like to go over to the library,â€ she said. â€œThe fair marks the start of summer.â€
Rohan smiled knowingly.