Albion Town Board boosts contribution to Strawberry Festival

Photo by Tom Rivers: The White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps from Dansville performs last June 9 in the Albion Strawberry Festival.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2019 at 8:36 am

ALBION – The Albion Town Board agreed to increase the town’s contribution for the annual Strawberry Festival.

The town has given $4,000 each of the past two years, with those funds dedicated to paying some of the costs for marching bands. The town will pay $4,450 towards the cost of the parade on June 8.

Some of the bands are increasing their fee to be in a parade, the Town Board was told on Monday by Strawberry Festival officials. The budget for the upcoming June 8 is $6,250.

“Having a parade is costly,” said Karen Sawicz is president of the Albion Rotary Club, which sponsors the festival and helps organize the two-day community celebration, now in its 33rd year. “That’s where we would be using your dollars.”

Some of the bands give the festival a break on their appearance fee, she said. But others have raised their rates. Several of the bands travel an hour or more to be in the parade.

The parade is typically about 90 minutes long and includes about 75 units.

“The parade is a signature parade but it’s only part of the festival,” said Michael Bonafede, who helps organize the festival.

This year’s festival has a theme of celebrating the lift bridges, which are about a century old. The June 7-8 event will bring back the trout pond, which will be moved to the family fun center next to the Presbyterian Church on Main Street.

There will be five entertainment venues, a 5K-8K race, poster and essay contest for Albion students, a classic car show, chalk art, and food and craft vendors.

“We try to deliver a wholesome family-centered, community celebration,” Bonafede said.

Many volunteers work on planning the event. He also praised fraternal organizations, churches and the village for all helping to make the festival a success.

For more information on the festival, including how to volunteer, click here.

The Albion Town Board for the first time in 2015 started setting aside town funds to support the Strawberry Festival, initially with a $3,000 contribution. That was boosted to $4,000 in 2017.

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