Troy Strawberry Festival is this weekend, organizers say ‘come hungry’

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

In 1977, a small festival began in Troy attracting a modest crowd of people.

From humble roots this festival has grown into an event that attracts more than 200,000 visitors to Troy, generating funds that help finance a host of community service projects and putting the spotlight on the Troy community.

The Troy Strawberry Festival was originally going to be themed around sweet corn, but the berries won out, in no small part because the biggest strawberry patch east of the Mississippi River happened to be just outside Troy at Fulton Farms. Early June did not conflict with other festivals already established in Miami County and a new event was born.

Kathi Roetter, executive director of the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce became involved with the festival in 1999 as a volunteer, eventually joining the staff in 2014.

“Come hungry — you will find someone for even the pickiest eater. There are 50 food vendors that represent local non-profits on the festival grounds. You will also find numerous restaurants in downtown Troy. You will find all kinds of strawberry delights as well as your favorite fair foods. You can’t go wrong with the strawberry donuts sold by the Troy Music Boosters or grabbing a strawberry funnel cake from the American Legion Baseball Team,” said Roetter. “We are the first large festival of the summer. For many it is a celebration that school is over and summer vacation has begun.”

For purists, you can get fresh berries themselves, but you can also get an entire menu of items that add a strawberry twist. Strawberry cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, strawberry salsa, strawberry lemon shake ups, strawberry kettle corn and even strawberry Philly cheesesteaks.

A portion of every food and beverage sale supports nonprofits that serve Troy and Miami County which means you are eating for a good cause.

“We plan year round for the festival. All the food vendors represent a local non-profit. Any commercial vendor that you see has a non-profit partner that they are fundraising for,” said Roetter.

In between meals there is entertainment on three stages throughout the festival — one at Prouty Plaza and two stages on the levee. Bring chairs and enjoy live music all day long.

On average at least 150,000 attend, and Roetter says she expects to see a similar crowd this year.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

The biggest challenge continues to be finding volunteers.

“A festival this size only happens because of the team of volunteers working year round to plan and put on the festival. Finding volunteers has become a challenge in recent years,” said Roetter.

The event continues to garner regional and national attention with TravelMag featuring it as one of the best Ohio Festivals in it’s coverage, writing: “The city of Troy stages a festival that celebrates its status as the epicentre of Ohio’s strawberry production scene. Taking place in the city’s historic downtown district along the Great Miami River, the event includes more than 100 arts and crafts vendors, great food and drink, entertainment, and of course, plenty of strawberries. Other highlights include a strawberry pie eating contest, 5k & 10K runs, a strawberry pageant, a tennis shootout, live music, a cruise-in and other family-friendly activities.”

Here’s a look at this year’s Troy Strawberry Festival by the numbers and why it will continue to garner rave reviews:

48: Number of years the Troy Strawberry Festival has been going on.

1977: Year the festival began.

50: Number of food vendors.

150,000: Number of people that attend on average.

350,000: Number of funds raised.

42: Number of entertainment acts.

3: Number of stages said entertainment acts perform on.

1: Fountain that they turn red in downtown Troy to celebrate the festival.

1: Theme is chosen each year — this year it is Blooming Berries.

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How to go

What: Troy Strawberry Festival

When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. June 1 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 2

Where: Downtown Troy and along the great Miami River Levee (1 West Main Street)

Cost: Free

Parking: The festival has limited parking, so plan to park at one of the three designated parking locations and ride the free shuttle provided by Kettering Health.

More information:

Upcoming festivals in the region

The Troy Strawberry Festival helps kick off a litany of food themed events happening this summer. Here’s a look at some of the more notable ones coming up.

Versailles Poultry Days, June 14-16;

Dayton Seafood Fest, June 15;

Pickle Fest, June 29;

Kickin’ Chicken Wing Fest, July 13;

Mac and Cheese Fest, July 13;

Pineapple Fest, July 24;

Bacon Fest, Aug. 3;

Germanfest Picnic, Aug. 9-11;

Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival, Aug. 17-18;

Taco and Nacho Fest, Aug. 24;

Dayton Vegan Food and Drink Festival, Sept. 15;

Germantown Pretzel Festival, Sept. 23;

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