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Strawberry Festival celebrating 30th year of serving up sweet treats

PLATTSBURGH - It's almost time for strawberries.

The congregation of Plattsburgh United Methodist Church is getting ready for their annual Strawberry Festival which celebrates its 30th year next Thursday, June 30. And, it's an event people like festival chair Margaret Tallman are getting excited about.

"It's a big event," said Tallman. "It takes a lot of willing volunteers - about 50 to 70 people - and we actually start planning for it in February. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it."

Each year, the festival follows its tradition of serving up strawberries - whether it be on strawberry shortcakes, in strawberry sundaes or just plain by themselves - and they do it in huge amounts.

"We get our strawberries from Rulf's Orchard and we used to get 200 pounds. Nowadays, we've been getting about 300 to 400 pounds," said Tallman. "And, we sell about 200 quarts that are freshly-picked and delivered by Rulf's so people can purchase them at the church."

"It's a lot of strawberries," she added, laughing.

Even though the festival's name focuses on strawberries, there's much more served up at the event, said Tallman. Festival-goers can also choose to enjoy a "picnic fare" meal of michigans, barbecue meatballs, baked beans and other homemade selections.

"And, most people do come for the complete meal," said Tallman.

The Strawberry Festival is an event that has grown in popularity year after year, said Tallman, who has been a part of its planning for the past 27 years. The event was established as a way for the church's finance committee to help fund church mission projects and it was an idea that proved to be rather fruitful.

"It's actually been held more than 30 years, but this is the 30th consecutive year," said Tallman. "When the church was on Oak Street, it was held on the church lawn until the church burned in a fire in 1956."

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