Lots of smiling faces at Strawberry Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2024 at 8:08 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Mike and Faith Smith get a ride in Brad Shelp’s Bell Air convertible from 1954. The Smiths were grand marshals in the parade for Albion’s Strawberry Festival.

The Smiths lead the Orleans Koinonia Kitchen at Harvest Christian Fellowship on Route 31. The kitchen has served about 45,000 meals in its first two years, and served just over 800 on Thursday.

The weather for most of today’s festival had sunshine with temperatures around 70 in the afternoon, following a soggy start to the two-day festival on Friday.

Some of the dancers from Dance Reflections by Miss Heather greet people around the parade route, which started at the high school driveway off Route 31, headed west on 31 and then north on Main Street to Bank Street. From left include Ava Woolston, Violet Rivera and Julianna Newbould.

There were 54 different units in the parade, which lasted over an hour and was a highlight of the 36th annual Strawberry Festival.

Jeff Gifaldi, a chief deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, wears the Safety Pup costume in the parade. His daughter Anna is next to him.

Safety Pup will be attending other community events around the county and visiting schools next year.

Jason Tarnowski served as emcee of the parade and Becky Karls headed the Strawberry Festival Committee. They are on a stand on Main Street near State Street. They saw many familiar faces in the parade and in the crowd.

Drum Major Jason Anstey took a short break from leading the band to playing his trumpet. Anstey is one of several seniors who performed with the marching band for the last time as a student today.

Dawn Spencer of the Eye of Oden tosses glitter into the air on Main Street. Spencer and about a dozen people from Eye of Oden walked with dogs in the parade.

Abigail Kinkaid walks with her mother Jami Allport, right, who is director of the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern. They had an inflatable alien with their float. The theme for the festival was “Out of this World.” The festival committee wanted to highlight the recent solar eclipse on April 8.

The queens of the festival, Lucy Rivers (left) and Julia Button, enjoy a ride in style in the parade.

One girl snags some candy in the parade. She is in front of Sheryl Watts of Air Raising Events, who created a bird out of balloons. Watts has made several characters for recent parades in Albion for the Strawberry Festival and near Christmas.

Watts is just ahead of a big group of Little Leaguers.

Lucas Jones leads the Holley-Kendall Marching Band as drum major. The band performed “Decades of Pop” during the parade. The band will close out its season 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Holley at the Hawk Stadium.

A group from Arc GLOW marched in the parade with signs celebrating diversity and people with disabilities.

Santa enjoys a sweet ride in the back of a classic truck from Panek Farms.

Bradeen Erakare waves and holds the banner for Cycling Without Age in Orleans County. Her mother, Susan Walders, is the pilot for a tri-shaw, a three-wheeled bike. Her passengers are Kae Wilbert and Walders’ mother, Janet Ridley, left.

Walders started Cycling Without Age last year. She and other pilots give rides to residents at nursing homes and other care facilities.

Girl Scouts in Troops 82007 and 82261 embraced the “Out of this World” theme. One of the troop leaders, Pauline Kehlenbeck Bachorski, walks with the scouts.

Panek’s Pickin’ Patch celebrated their “Stellar Strawberries” and passed out treats along the parade route.

Both sides of Main Street were lined with people from the Route 98 intersection to Bank Street.

Brian Payne, left, of Medina and Jeremy Weakland of Barker both head to the finish in this morning’s Strawberry Festival 5k/8k. The two carried the America flag for the longer 8K race. They said they are both proud veterans.

There were 190 participants in the race today.