Tuesday, April 26, 2016

TOP STORY >> Strawberry Fest pride of Cabot

Leader staff writer

Windows are the, well, windows to the soul and windows with printed inspirations on the panes were one of the many unique items for sale at Saturday’s Strawberry Festival in Cabot.

Thousands attended the 14th annual festival, which saw one of the nicest days ever, sunny and highs in the low 80s.

It was the first year for the festival to be downtown circling city hall. It had been held at the Veterans Park Community Center since its inception.

Sponsored by Cabot Junior Auxiliary, the festival had food trucks, a carnival, area businesses set up to let people know they were in town, Boy Scouts and the archery club held fundraisers for equipment and competitions, a young local artist, pork rinds, kettle corn and, of course, strawberries.

The strawberries were the only complaint organizers heard about – there just wasn’t enough. But that was the fault of the recent rains that slowed down growth and picking. Strawberries were gone by noon from the festival and most area stands throughout the city. “I don’t think there was a strawberry left in Cabot,” Auxiliary member Danielle Graves said. Yet, the festival went on until 6 p.m., with entertainment and the carnival running even later.

Graves, who worked with the vendors, said “The festival was just great. We had an excellent response from our vendors. They liked the downtown location and it brought in more people.”

“It was the best Strawberry Festival ever,” said Auxiliary member Wendy Bass. “People enjoyed the amount of booths and the diversity. We had food trucks on the upper level in front of city hall and the carnival and a variety of booths around the backside.”

Bass said she stopped at one of the booths selling cinnamon type rolls. “I got a salted caramel one, and it was delicious. I offered to share it with some friends, luckily they declined, and I got it all,” she said. The carnival said it had double the number of riders.

Now, about those windows. They were designed and sold by Amanda Johnson of Cabot, who calls her custom design business, Pink Lemonade Creations. She salvages the windows from her family’s business and other sources and does the printing herself.

Tim Hobbs and Lance Schichtl are instructors for the 70-plus member archery teams at Cabot Junior High South and Cabot Freshman Academy, and in the matter of just a few years have turned it into one of the top programs in the state. The group was at the festival raising money to participate in the National Archery School competition next month in Louisville, Ky.

Hobbs said, “Thanks to the generosity of those visiting the Strawberry Festival, we did manage to raise around about a fifth of the money we need to raise. The Junior Auxiliary was excellent to work with and I think things ran very well. My students really enjoyed being there, painting faces and talking to people about Cabot Archery and the upcoming tournament. We have another fundraiser, a spaghetti supper this Friday at the Cabot National Guard Armory.”

Hobbs said more than 13,000 students from 47 states will participate in the Kentucky tournament.