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Organizers of Strawberry Fest welcome help with annual event

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Michael Bonafede, chairman of the Strawberry Festival Committee, addresses the Albion Rotary Club last week about this year’s festival on June 12-13. The Rotary Club helps plan and run the event.

ALBION – Albion’s biggest community bash, the Strawberry Festival, is several months away, but many volunteers are busy working on the two-day celebration.

The Strawberry Festival Committee welcomes help and money for the 29th annual festival on June 12-13. The event draws several thousand people to Albion for the two days. This year’s festival will have a fishing-related theme – “Hook, Line and Strawberry!” – to celebrate the Chinook salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout that are one of the county’s top attractions.

There will be a contest among Albion students to design artwork for the poster for the festival, a poster that will include a fishing theme. The festival committee wants to incorporate fishing themed events for festival. Michael Bonafede, committee chairman, said the organizers welcome ideas on how to best embrace fishing for the Strawberry Festival.

The committee welcomes help and money to put on the event. The Village of Albion provides many in-kind services for the festival. The festival committee will reach out to the towns of Albion and Gaines to help support the event, Bonafede said.

“This is part economic development, it’s tourism, it’s bringing people in here and showcasing the area,” Bonafede told the Albion Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club is sponsor of the festival and provides much of the manpower in planning the event, which costs about $16,000 for entertainment, bands for the parade, prizes, equipment and other expenses including portable potties, postage, dumpsters and advertising.

A member of the Rochester Scottish Pipes and Drums plays the bagpipes during the 28th annual Strawberry Festival Parade last June. The parade accounts for $5,000 or about a third of festival’s overall costs.

Members of the Rotary Club and other community members are heading up different parts of the festival. The following are in charge of different aspects of the festival: Karen Sawicz, advertising; Brad London, food vendors; Don Bishop, logistics; Website, Lake Country Pennysaver; Tammy Yaskulski, major sponsors/fundraising; Brad Shelp, parade; Bill Pileggi and Karen Appleman, entertainment; Joe DiBella from Don Davis Chevrolet Buick GMC, car show and cruise in; June Persia, craft vendors; Marsha Rivers, Family Fun Faire; and Michael Bonafede, overall chairman.

The committee is looking for someone to manage the Turtle Race.

Bonafede wants to see the event continue for years to come. Costs have climbed in recent years to put on the festival.

“Looking to the future we’ll need to get more revenue in,” he said.

For more information, contact Bonafede at 585-749-1413, by email at bonaler@yahoo.com or click here to go to the festival website.