You’ll Be Glad You Did
We’re getting down to the Nitty-Gritty.
The Church’s Annual Strawberry Fest is happening on June 11th and everyone is trying to tie up the 47,000 loose ends.
I swear putting this event together is like planning a major military invasion.
Coordinating hundreds of volunteers from the community, vendors, and delivery of equipment and “all the fixins” would have made General Eisenhower break into tears.
On June 11th, from 10 AM until 8 PM we will supply Strawberry Shortcake to about 10,000 people. That’s a lot of strawberries, biscuits, ice cream and whipped topping to move in one day.
Our Strawberry Fest is the biggest One Day event in the Wabash Valley. This year will be our 27th year of doing this madness. We both love doing it and hate doing it – but mainly love it.
On the 12th of June, the day after the event, the planning starts on next year’s Fest. It is kinda like the Super Bowl – only with better food and fewer arrests.
Even though it is a fundraiser for our church it has become a true community event. Our volunteers come from other churches, businesses, schools and individuals who don’t go to church with us. A few years ago one of our community volunteers said that, “On Strawberry Fest Day we all belong to First Congregational Church.”
Now THAT is community spirit!
The picture at the top is of the church. On Strawberry Fest Day we take over the large parking lot on the other side of the building. Tent shelters are erected with enough tables and folding chairs to seat an army. The parking lot belongs to our neighbors at the bank. They join in and give us their lot for a few days to set up, feed the multitudes, and then clean up the debris.
Our church, First Congregational Church of Terre Haute (That’s French for “Do you want ice cream on that?”) is the oldest continuously worshipping church in Terre Haute, dating back to 1834. The church building is our third home in that time. This one was erected in 1903. When I get my act together I will post some pictures of the amazing stained glass windows we enjoy. When the sun shines on a Sunday morning it is glorious indeed.
It looks calm and peaceful, but right now inside the building it resembles a beehive with everyone working on getting volunteers lined up, getting the live entertainment booked, arranging to have the inevitable mountains of trash picked up and getting set for the crowds that will appear. The local TV stations will want to do live remotes from the middle of it all and, on his own, there will be the fellow who shows up every year giving horse and buggy rides.
The Church is located on one of the busiest streets in town and you throw an additional 10,000 people into that space and it can easily turn into a traffic nightmare. Bless the City for remembering to put up the various signs and barricades to keep everything safely flowing.
10,000 people get fed, but I’ll bet it takes almost that number, throughout the community to pull off this whole thing.
So – if you find yourself near Terre Haute, Indiana on June 11th and develop a sudden craving for the best strawberry shortcake on the planet you are hereby invited to stop by Sixth Street and Ohio Boulevard.
You’ll be glad you did.