Originally A "Strawberry Social"
Fort Niagara was an active army base for decades, and early outreach to the soldiers stationed there included a "Strawberry Social," organized by the ladies of the church. The appreciative young men enjoyed the homemade ice cream topped with fresh strawberries, which served as a reminder of home and the simple things of life. According to church records, the Strawberry Social started during WW II.
Changes Over The Years
The annual event has evolved to be today's community-wide event, with strawberry shortcake being the centerpiece. Fresh strawberries are ordered months in advance from a local farmer, and hundreds of shortcakes are baked in the parish hall the day of the event, with gallons of heavy cream whipped up to top this lucious dessert. For several years, the festival was held over two days and included a live auction. Today, with so many competing events on summer weekends, the Strawberry Fest is now a one-day event. Another big change has been our partnership with the Youngstown Lions, who serve hotdogs, hamburgers and sausage to raise money for their vital programs. Live music, a basket auction and children's activities help to round out the day.
With the pandemic, the parish has not yet decided whether to hold a Strawberry Fest in 2021, so keep checking back for an update. Last year's Strawberry Fest, like so many local, regional and national events, was cancelled due to covid. Rather than cancel our berry order with Coulter's Farm, we asked the Care-N-Share Food Pantry if we could donate the fresh berries to them when they were harvested, and they enthusiastically accepted! No matter what we decide, the community will benefit in some way from the Strawberry Fest.