Albion Town Board boosts contribution for Strawberry Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 February 2017 at 9:44 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: A marching band heads down Main Street during the Strawberry Festival last June. This year’s festival will be June 9-10.

ALBION – The Albion Town Board, which for the first time in 2015 started setting aside town funds to support the Strawberry Festival, agreed on Monday to contribute $4,000 to the two-day event in June.

That $4,000 is a boost from the $3,000 from the town the past two years. The town funds will go towards the cost of bringing in some of the marching bands for the parade on June 10.

“We’re very grateful,” Michael Bonafede, the festival committee chairman, told the Town Board when it approved the funding on Monday. “That would be so helpful.”

The volunteer-run festival operates on a $22,000 budget, which mostly goes to bringing in entertainment, including the marching bands.

The town funds will cover most of the $4,450 expense for bringing in five popular marching bands: The Hitmen, Mighty St. Joe’s, the Buffalo Stampede, Pembroke Dragons and the Scottish Pipes.

Bonafede said the festival is focused on showcasing Albion, and providing wholesome family entertainment.

This year’s festival will have a Santa theme in honor of Charles Howard, the Albion resident who ran a Santa School in Albion from 1937 to 1966. Howard also served as the Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 18 years. He remains revered among people who portray Santa for establishing standards in how to act and dress as Santa.

Bonafede said he is hopeful there will be many local floats in the parade with a Santa theme, as well as other activities celebrating Howard. Bonafede said the festival committee also wanted to highlight the effort by the Albion Betterment Committee to have a bronze statue on Main Street in honor of Howard.

The festival has many activities, from a food court, craft vendors, a classic car show, turtle race, trout pond, 5k and 8k race, and a record number of business booths in 2016. Last year a chalk art festival also debuted. Bonafede said the committee is working to add a wooden boat fleet this year.

The committee welcomes more volunteers to help put on the event. For more information, check the festival’s website by clicking here.

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