Bringing the Community Together, One Strawberry at a Time

The Massapequa Historical Soicety holds it's annual Strawberry Festival.

The Massapequa Historical Society held their annual Strawberry Festival this past Saturday at Old Grace Church on Merrick Road, and a combination of delightful weather and (what else?) strawberries ensured that a good time was had by one and all.

Bill Colfer, president of the Historical Society, said that unlike last June, there were fresh strawberries aplenty for all who attended this year's Festival.

"Last year we had horrendous weather, so all the strawberries were ruined," he said. "This year the weather was perfect, and the strawberries we have this year were picked yesterday...they're as fresh as can be, picked locally right out in Riverhead."

"And I think that, in all the years I've been here doing this, these are the sweetest strawberries that we've ever had," Colfer added.

Terri Montera of Seaford was taking in the sounds of Goodtime Charlie's Ragtime Jazz Band while enjoying a serving of the Festival's trademark strawberry shortcake.

"We always come every year," she said. "I love the strawberry shortcake, and the music is very nice, too."

According to Colfer, the Strawberry Festival has been helping the Historical Society in preserving Massapequa's rich past for nearly 30 years.

"This is one of our two major fundraisers for the whole year," he said. "It's expected by the community by this point."

However, changing times have made things difficult for the Historical Society.

"The Strawberry Festival is getting smaller...it's getting harder and harder to get craft vendors," he said. "Lifestyles have changed...old stuff isn't appealing to young people anymore."

In an attempt to evolve their fundraising efforts, the Historical Society is putting together an DVD on the history of Massapequa.

"When it's finished, this DVD should give people a much fuller view of the historical significance of the area," said Historical Society member George Kirchmann.

Amanda Graziano, a senior at Massapequa high school's Ames campus, was running a body painting table with several of her classmates.

"I want to be a part of my community, and I like art," she said. "We got letters from the Honor Society asking us to do this, and I signed up."

Every year, the Strawberry Festival attracts many talented crafts vendors. Lisa McFarland of Massapequa Park was selling beautiful beaded jewelry at her table that day.

"Practically everything you see here was hand-made by me," she said. "I do this fair every year, plus the Apple Fest. I love the people here, and sales have been pretty good."

Vendor Brigitte Dorka had many lovely paintings and homemade greeting cards on display.

"I started painting 20 years ago when the kids moved out," she said. "I never had time before. I enjoy painting, and if I get paid something for it, that's even better."

Maureen Cohen of Massapequa Park makes it a point to come to the Festival every year with her family.

"It's nice to get out in the community and buy our strawberry shortcake," she said. "Plus, I have grandparents back in the cemetery of Old Grace Church, so we come to see them also."


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