Spending a day with Grandma, 4-year-old Emma Comeau of Fountain Hills took the last bite of her chocolate-covered strawberry, a huge grin spreading across her face. Without pause, she said, “Grandma, I need two more.”
Her grandma worried Emma would get a stomachache after eating the two chocolate-covered strawberries and a plate full of homemade strawberry shortcake. But what’s a grandma to do?
She bought two more.
At this weekend’s Strawberry Festival, 225 flats of strawberries arrived Friday to make pies, shortcakes, floats, sundaes, chocolate-dipped treats and provide flats and pints for fruit lovers.
Strawberries have grown in the ravines of Strawberry for years. Sandy Blackwell used to drive up from the Valley to her family’s cabin in the ’70s to find strawberries nearby. “Now there’s more blueberry bushes,” she said.
However, you could easily find the strawberries in the Pine Community Center during the festival. Sandy, now a full-time resident, happily served the chocolate-dipped ones.
Surrounding the Strawberry Festival, vendors sold jewelry, arts and crafts, kettle corn, funnel cake, hot dogs and lemonade. According to representatives from the Pine-Strawberry business council, 20 more vendors attended this year. For the first time, the Pine ramada had booths crowding the interior.
In one booth, a mother and daughter worked together making jewelry out of stones. Another housed an artist wearing shorts trimmed in faux fur and a cowboy hat dangling with beads. She designed vibrantly colored animal paintings on surfaces such as aluminum siding and wooden box purses. Another had bobbing metal birds for the garden, with stones enmeshed throughout the design.
The fun continued for kids at a craft table where they could make bookmarks and color with white board erasable markers on donated DVD cartons from Blockbuster or empty restaurant menu casings from PF Chang’s.
The event offered a wonderful small-town adventure for Emma’s grandma Mary, who drove up for the first time in 40 years of living in the Valley. “It’s worth the drive,” she said.