Strawberries, lots of fun on tap next weekend in Calera

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

CALERA – The Calera Farmers Market doesn’t open until June, but an event next weekend will help residents get ready for the market’s second summer produce season.

The inaugural Strawberry Festival is April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oliver Park.

A variety of events are on tap, from vendors to kids attractions to fresh strawberries.

Entertainment includes the 4-H Shelby Stompers at 10 a.m., the FFA String Band at 11 a.m. and Shinebone, a bluegrass group, from noon to 2 p.m.

The Calera Library will be doing story time for kids throughout the day.

“It’s just going to be a great day and a great opportunity to meet your neighbors, visit, hang out and enjoy great Alabama strawberries and other great products,” said Rebecca Krueger, an event organizer.

Strawberries were an appropriate theme, Krueger said, because they won’t be in season when the farmer’s market opens in June.

The festival, Krueger said, is also being promoted as a “Celebrate Calera Day.”

Calera Mayor Jon Graham and city council members will be there to meet residents, and the LifeSouth blood mobile will be onsite for the Calera Farmers Market Blood Drive.

Calera’s farmers market first opened for the 2010 season with seven vendors – six farmers and one local artisan. It doubled in size throughout the season and closed with 14 vendors. The market was voted the state’s best during the 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets competition.

“We expect the same enthusiasm from our patrons during the 2011 season,” Krueger said.

The 2011 farmer’s market opens June 7 from 3-6 p.m. and runs each Tuesday through the end of August.