Cecilia Thurmond watched as her son, Wyman, jumped in the bounce house at Our Lady of Peace Catholic School on Saturday.
In the 10 years her son has attended the school, the annual Strawberry Festival has become a family affair for her, and the school her home away from home.
“He’s pretty much grown up here,” she said.
Even though her son will graduate from the K-8 school this year, she plans to continue to attend the festival and to support the Our Lady of Peace fundraiser.
A DJ provided musical entertainment and the basketball court was a makeshift dance floor. Nearby, a dunking booth attracted a small crowd, while across the soccer field attendees tried their hands at game booths sponsored by the school’s classes.
Thurmond is one of many parent volunteers who have made the event an annual success.
Alvin Stevens is another. He has grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for the event as one of the parish’s Knights of Columbus since the festival began 27 years ago.
Stevens’ four children attended the school in the 1970s, and now two of his grandchildren attend.
“Ever since my kids were going to school here we’ve been coming (to the festival),” he said. “It’s just something that we do.”
About 100 gallons of strawberries are donated every year by parishioners Clyde and Marilyn Gurosik, who own Gurosik’s Berry Plantation.
The berries are used to create a variety of desserts, including shakes and shortcakes, which are sold during the festival. For the past three years, Brusters Ice Cream on Knox Avenue has used some of the donated strawberries to make strawberry ice cream for the event, said Pam Mentrup, one of the event’s organizers.
The event also included a silent auction and ethnic food prepared by the church’s Hispanic families,
The festival raises about $4,000 each year. This year, the funds will be used to purchase more smartboards, she said.