Calera celebrates summer with strawberry festival

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer

CALERA – To celebrate the beginning of warm weather and clear blue skies, the Calera community assembled at Oliver Park for the 13th annual strawberry festival on Saturday, April 20. Featuring live music, food trucks and sweet treats, the Calera Strawberry Festival had something for everyone.

Attendees wandered the aisles of booths, perusing vendor’s wares while eating gelato, sipping lemonade or savoring bites from food trucks. The vendors offered a variety of goods including hand-painted wooden door signs, soaps, pet accessories, cowboys hats and more.

But, of course, the real star of the show was the strawberries.

Strawberry vendor Amy Ballew traveled to Calera to sell her fruit and shared that she enjoyed her day.

“The Calera Strawberry has been very exciting,” Ballew said. “The booth set up was really easy to get in to. There’s a good variety of the vendors and it’s been very easy to get in and out. I think everybody has been having a really good time.”

While their parents shopped, children had the opportunity to climb the Oliver Park jungle gym and clamber into inflatable bounce houses. Meanwhile, the results of the Calera Strawberry Festival Coloring Contest hung in front of the Discover Shelby concert stage.

One of the festival sponsors, PLANT, hosted the coloring contest. PLANT is a botanical shop and florist located on Calera’s Main Street. Coloring sheets, designed by Mary Catherine Anderson, were available for pick up at a variety of Calera businesses.

Children from kindergarten through high school were invited to color the pages and return them to PLANT to be displayed at the strawberry festival. The contest winners received a gift basket full of prizes.

According to PLANT owner Andrea Huff, the store received approximately 100 entries, with the most popular demographic being seven-year-olds.

In addition to the coloring contest, PLANT also partnered with Calera Parks and Recreation to decorate the festival with a strawberry theme. From red and pink balloon arches to  strawberry paper lanterns, the idea behind this year’s décor was to allow anyone who stumbled upon the festival to know immediately that it was for strawberries.

“It was really important just to get that strawberry vibe because we need something to set it apart,” Huff said. “I mean it’s a strawberry festival, so let’s make it look like it. I think we did a pretty good job bringing that in this year, especially with the Discover Shelby stage.”

On stage, bands performed live music as guests laid out picnic blankets, tapping their feet while snacking on their strawberry baskets. Between the live music, the vendors and children’s activities, the Calera Strawberry Festival had something for all ages.

“I do feel like this is the best strawberry festival yet,” Huff said.

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