Harris once ‘volun-told’ her kids to help, now leads Troy Strawberry Festival

TROY — It’s not unusual to see Jules Harris around the grounds of the annual Troy Strawberry Festival.

This year, however, she will be in a more high-profile role as the general chair of Troy’s biggest event of the year.

A Troy resident since 2004, Harris is no stranger to the volunteer and business scenes around town. She also is owner of Trojan Florists downtown. She moved to Troy from Orlando to live in her grandmother’s house, because she wanted to raise her children in the community, Harris said.

Involvement in the festival was a natural, she said.

“It’s hard to be a mom in Troy and not be involved in the Strawberry Festival,” said Harris, who has five grown children.

Involvement included volunteering for children’s activities and with the St. Patrick’s booth for years. She then chaired different events such as a pie eating contest and festival shuttles before being asked to become involved on the festival steering committee. Her leadership role was delayed a couple of years by COVID-19 and its interruption of the festival.

Among the chairman’s tasks is coming up with the festival logo for the year. This year’s Blooming Berries theme focuses on flowers and a bee to reflect a hobby of Harris and her husband, Francis.

“As a florist in Troy, it had to be flowers,” she said of the logo. She has owned the florist shop for five years.

Harris has been involved in an array of organizations and activities over the years, including church; Girl Scouts, Children’s International Summer Village, where she serves on the board; Troy Optimist Club; and Troy Community Works, among others.

“My kids would be volun-told. Now, as they are older and out in their own communities, they volunteer and get involved,” Harris said. “For me, I think it was me trying to make it more of a teaching moment for the kids because they usually would be with me,” Harris said.

Among her top festival tips is for visitors — local and beyond — to use the free festival shuttles offered each year.

The festival will kick off with local activities Friday night followed by the main festival downtown and on the Great Miami River levee Saturday and Sunday. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some specific events (5K run, Cruise-in) will start earlier.

The festival is held annually and benefits nonprofits across the community. For more information on the Strawberry Festival, visit www.troystrawberryfest.com or search “Troy Strawberry Festival” on Facebook.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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