The Strawberry Shortcake Festival celebrated a tradition 30 years strong Thursday afternoon.
Despite the weather, a steady crowd huddled around a tent where the shortcakes were prepared on the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington. A bell rang periodically from the tent, sounding every time someone made a donation to the Boys and Girls Club beyond purchasing their serving of strawberries for $5.
Stacey Hawkins, co-chair of the Strawberry Shortcake Festival organized by Ladies Auxiliary, said the festival is like a kickoff to springtime in Bloomington.
All of the proceeds from the festival, go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington.
“We’re happy to help support everything that they do,” she said. “They’re a big part of our community.”
Ladies Auxiliary is a group of women in the community who donate their time and efforts toward supporting the Boys and Girls Club, co-chair and fourth-year member of the Auxiliary Krista Johns said. Last year, they raised more than $35,000 for BGC during the festival.
“It’s a nice mix of women and it’s a great camaraderie,” she said.
Now in her fifth year with the group, Hawkins said she and Johns decided to chair the event two years in a row because of the enjoyment people get out of it in the community.
She and the other volunteers serving treats were decked in strawberry gear, including strawberry aprons, strawberry earrings and strawberry socks to get in the spirit.
Their signature shortcakes are made with cake from Sugar Daddy’s Cakes and Catering, vanilla ice cream from Bruster’s, strawberries provided by Troyer Foods and whipped cream.
“It was pretty great,” IU student Melanie Mashner said. “It took me, like, a solid three minutes to find the cake, so I think there was a good amount of whipped cream, strawberries and ice cream. I approved of that a lot.”
Johns said the festival and the shortcakes are something the community looks forward to every year —– that’s why they don’t stray from the tradition of strawberries.
“We just don’t want to change something that goes so well,” she said. “We just keep incorporating ways to make it better.”
Beyond the berries, Mashner said she came to the festival to celebrate her birthday with her two roommates before parting ways for the summer.
The festival was a good environment for families and the community as a whole, Mashner said, which is something the Boys and Girls Club stands for.
Overall, Mashner said she enjoyed the festival’s atmosphere.
“I love strawberries and I love Bloomington,” she said.