Spring brings the strawberry to Baldwin County, Alabama, and the fruit is celebrated with its own festival.
The 31st annual Strawberry Festival takes place April 14 and 15 in the town of Loxley at Loxley Municipal Park. Started as a fundraiser for Baldwin County Association for Retarded Citizens (ARCBC) and Loxley Elementary School, the festival has morphed into one of South Alabama’s most beloved events, drawing from 40,000 to 60,000 people. Festival Chairman Greg Walker notes that the kid-friendly weekend has no admission cost. “Come and enjoy the festival, have some food, see some entertainment—there’s a little bit for everybody.”
While lead-up to the event includes the Little Miss Strawberry Pageant in March, the festival itself offers a variety of attractions. In addition to music all day Saturday and Sunday featuring bands including the popular Mustang Sally, the weekend includes carnival rides and games. an antique car and tractor show, arts and crafts from 180 vendors based all over the Southeast, and a 5K run. The run will be particularly useful to visitors who have partaken of the event’s signature Strawberry Shortcake. Greg Walker notes that the delicacy is made from a special recipe and features local strawberries when available. He also says “I have to stop myself from eating it.”
The festival receives plenty of support from the community, including presenting sponsors Wind Creek Casino and Hotel and Baldwin County EMC. The event usually nets $20,000 to $25,000 apiece for ARCBC and Loxley Elementary. With a big crowd expected, the festival is addressing the challenge of parking with a free shuttle running to the park from the Baldwin County Board of Education building, and Greg Walker also has a word of advice: “The festival opens at 900 a.m. Plan to get here early!”
For more information about the Baldwin County Strawberry Festival, check the website at www.baldwincountystrawberryfestival.org
photos courtesy Baldwin County Strawberry Festival