Troy Strawberry Festival

10.) Troy Strawberry Festival – June 5, 2010

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When deciding on a festival to attend, the town’s size and location are important factors. Those closer to Columbus, for example, might draw a greater crowd, even if the town itself is small. A larger crowd typically means more vendors and products available to those attending.

When I read about the Troy Strawberry Festival, I was surprised to learn that they get about 150,000 people each year, even if Troy is very close to Dayton. The town itself only has about 22,000 inhabitants.

How does such a small town deal with such a large turnout?

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With shuttles. Plenty of shuttles.

The city of Troy had various parking areas around the city where visitors could park (like the Meijer’s parking lot, for example) and conveniently be driven in via school bus. This seemed like a rather stress-free way to find some easy parking and ride on out to the festival.

My uncle, though, only raised an eyebrow when I suggested this option. Being that he has magical parking powers, I should have his expected his reaction.

And he does have these powers. Either they lead him directly to proximate parking spaces that are mysteriously ignored by others in front of him or they telepathically convince other drivers to pull out of their parking spaces upon his approach. It’s quite amazing, honestly, so I didn’t argue.

Once arriving in Troy, we came to a few obstacles with all the roads closed for the morning’s parade. Using the car’s navigation, we turned this way and that toward the festival grounds, coming across some floats on their way home.

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The streets were filled with cars and it was only 10:15 am. The chances of finding a spot became grimmer as we came closer to the festival grounds.

Eventually, before crossing the Miami River, we came across a lumber company parking lot that seemed mostly filled with festival patrons. There was some doubt about whether we could park there. But, once we did, others cars came in soon after us. It was either going to be OK, or there was going to be a very profitable year for the towing company.

We took our chances and started walking.

We crossed the river…

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…and looked to the festival that awaited us.
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It looked big from the distance…

 

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…and pretty big up close.

As we started down the way, the other end seemed to drift away. Click on the above picture and you’ll see that the end isn’t in site. I even remember getting to the middle and thinking 2 very distinct things…
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1.) This is only the middle.
2.) There’s another section below!
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And there was…an entire other section below…

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One very interesting thing about the Troy Strawberry Festival was that there was no segregation of the food booths. We didn’t have to find a food court or a food area…they were simply dispersed among booths selling dolls, corn hole products (something VERY popular in Troy apparently), and other things.
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There were also many booths run by local organizations, whether churches or cheerleaders or marching bands. And they all sold strawberry products.

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Shortcake, butter, BBQ sauce, preserves…

ice cream……………………………………………………….salsa

smoothies……………………………………………………..kebabs

cheesecake…………………………………………………………..pie

shake-ups……………………………………………………coolers

There was plenty to try!

But with all the possibilities, you had to be selective, even if you came with 3 other people. I had my own misgivings toward particular products. The burrito, for example, was too simple for me – strawberries and whipped cream in a tortilla. And anything with strawberry daiquiri mix (shake-up) on display only gave me bad vibes. With the strawberry pizza, I was honestly hoping for some salty/sweet medley instead of the giant shortcake concoction it seemed to be.
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I needed something new and fun and interesting.

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Like popcorn, for example, which tasted like Franken Berry cereal…

…or even a strawberry Danish, which wasn’t as good as it looked…

…or strawberry nachos, which may have been better with a cream cheese sauce…

…or deep fried strawberries….

…probably the best thing I ate there.

One big draw of the festival was the strawberry donut. I didn’t realize this until we got to the festival’s lower section and noticed a long line at the stadium.
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A sign at the top of the bleachers pointed down below, making people believe that this was the reason for their voyage to Troy that weekend.

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So we got in line…
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…asking ourselves: $4 for 4 or $8 for a dozen?

With people walking from the counter with at least 2 dozen each in plastic bags, we decided on the latter.
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And they were OK…

…just a little too artificial really when strawberries are in season.

So the deep fried strawberries still win.
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We continued on to the lower section…

…and made our way…

…to the Man V. Food booth.

Unfortunately, Adam wasn’t able to show up to the festival. There were some computer terminals to sign up for a contest and my uncle got a Zantac free sample (considering what we already ate that morning, we could have used them).
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Then, in the distance, we noticed more school buses shuttling in more people.

It was packed and before noon!

As the Miami County Courthouse looked down upon us, we made our way back to the car in its easy-to-walk-to parking space…happy to see that no one towed it.
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