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Preserving History Through Strawberries

This weekends historical society strawberry festival has quite a history itself.

The Historical Society of the Massapequas was formed in 1969 in response to vandalism in Old Grace Church. It remained small and inactive until 1981, when the possibility was raised that Old Grace Church, built in 1844 and used for worship until the mid 60s, would be demolished.

That prospect galvanized many community members and they came together under the Historical Society's banner to preserve, lease, and eventually buy the building from Grace Episcopal Church.

Of course, after one leases an old and neglected building, it becomes evident very quickly that it needs to be maintained. The actual and ongoing maintenance was and is performed by Society members and local companies.

Money  for these endeavors (which have included maintenance of the stained glass windows, installation of a new furnace, structural work under the altar, new siding, trapping and removing squirrels and other uninvited guests, etc., etc., etc.) has come from donations, membership fees and from festivals and other special events.

From the Society's beginnings in the early 1980s, its Trustees have operated a Strawberry Festival in June and an Apple Festival in October (and even a Corn Festival, which some may remember).

In both instances, local produce is sold and vendors exhibit their wares at tents set in front of Old Grace Church. The Church, the Servants' Cottage and the Delancey Floyd-Jones Library are open and staffed by volunteers eager to tell the story of Massapequa's history. There are also opportunities to visit the Grace Church Cemetery and the Floyd-Jones Cemetery at the back of the property, either alone or with a Society member who can recount the history of both sites.

Local Boy Scout troops, as well as Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay have always assisted the Society with traffic and crowd control. All monies collected by the Society are used for Church and Cottage maintenance. 

This year's festival will be held Saturday, June 18, with a rain date of Sunday June 19. All are welcome to browse the vendors' tents, enjoy games and musical entertainment and partake of fresh food. You can also tour the cemeteries and enjoy the three buildings that make up Massapequa's historic complex.

 

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