All island golf carts, joggers, walkers and foodies have one primary destination Saturday: The Strawberry Festival.
The Strawberry Festival, which raised more than $75,000 for 21 charities a year ago, has grown into a much bigger project the the Sunday social it used to be.
The overwhelming popularity of the event, however, had begun to grind the fun out of putting it on for the volunteer Boca Grande United Methodist Church committee members. The pressure of completing the myriad different tasks and topping previous donation totals was taking a toll.
Crafts offered by volunteers, from left: Marjorie Moore, Marsy Doan and Pam Hannah.
So the live auction was scrapped this year and much less support was asked of island businesses.
"We want to return to the original feel of the Strawberry Fest," said Co-Chair Beth Paxton. "It was just strawberries and shortcake sold in a church."
One major item remains the same: the delicious strawberry shortcake will be in demand. Strawberry shortcake director Donna Harms said she ordered 50 percent more flats this year.
What: Strawberry Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Crowninshield House, 131 Banyan St.
You need to know: Bargain donors can drop off their gifts until 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday before the event.
2011 Strawberry Festival Chairs
Co-Chairs: Beth Paxton, Madelaine McCrady
Past Chairs: Gloria Mitchell, Sue Eddy
2012 Chair: Judy Garcia
Bake sale: Jean Steinman, Ellie Durno
Bargain sale: Gloria Mitchell, Sue Eddy
Boutique: Dian Klepser, Jane Caple, Nancy Lyons
Community outreach: Sara Moll
Crafts: Marsy Doan, Nancy Kershaw
Grilled food and drinks: Pete Saeger
Prayer shells: Jean Woods
Pre-sale refreshment: Ruth Paschall
Publicity: Bob and Ellie Young
Set-up/Tear-down: Ray Smedley, Colvin McCrady
Silent Auction: Sara Moll, Marjorie Moore
Strawberry Shortcake: Donna Harms, Jan Myers, Judy Sandbo
Treasurer: Barbara Greene
Volunteers coordinators: Candy Rost, Joan Senior
Youth: Judy Garcia
"We may get stuck with some strawberries but that's alright," said Ellie Young, publicity coordinator.
Food coordinator Pete Saeger doubled the number of bratwursts ordered from seven to 14 cases and add an extra water station to address to other shortfalls that come from growing attendance.
At least 53 valuable items will be offered to bidders at a silent auction and the Boutique shop will offer new and used merchandise. The craft table features local artisans. Other attractions include the face-painting booth operated by the Methodist Youth Group and the UMC Ladies Bake Sale.
Proceeds benefit the following eight charities, which have been pared down from 21 a year ago:
Strawberry Festival island charities
Boca Grande Child Care Center
Friends of the Community Center children's programs
Catholic Charities in Arcadia
Children First, Sarasota County
Good Samaritan Fund
Grace Place Mission for Kids in Naples
Kids Needs of Greater Englewood.
Los Rieles/La Vega School in Dominican Republic