The 35th Annual Strawberry Shortcake Festival benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday at Switchyard Park, according to the BGC of Bloomington website.
People at the festival may purchase strawberry shortcake for $5 per serving, with all proceeds going to the BGC of Bloomington. According to the BGC of Bloomington website, residents and businesses could also pre-order strawberry shortcake kits containing strawberries, ice cream, shortcake, whipped topping, bowls and utensils to be delivered Tuesday and Wednesday. Each kit costs $60 and contains 10 servings.
“This is a time honored tradition that we're really excited to have this week,” festival co-chair Megan Parmenter said.
While 2021 marks the 35th Annual Strawberry Shortcake Festival, this is only the second year the festival will take place at Switchyard Park. The Auxiliary to the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington changed the location last year in order to offer a drive-thru, COVID-19 safe option, Parmenter said. The Auxiliary will continue to offer a drive-thru option this year to accommodate those who do not feel comfortable with in-person events or in case of rain.
The Strawberry Shortcake Festival is one of two main fundraising events held annually by the Auxiliary, Auxiliary President Heather Groves said. Groves said the Auxiliary donates $75,000 to BGC of Bloomington each year, making them the single largest donor.
Groves said there are three Boys and Girls Club locations in or near Bloomington. One is located on Lincoln Street, another in the Crestmont neighborhood and the other in Ellettsville.
“We do a lot of programming at all three Boys and Girls Clubs, and this festival goes into funding that programming so we can give the kids some different opportunities,” festival co-chair Savanah Whittaker said.
Whittaker said some examples of the programming made possible by the Auxiliary include providing hot meals for children living in Crestmont public housing to take home each Friday during the school year, a holiday market where kids choose gifts for their family members, an end of the year awards banquet and more.
“I think it's important that kids have a safe place to go after school, somewhere where they're enriched and challenged yet nurtured, somewhere that they have role models to look up to,” Whittaker said. “The Boys and Girls Club provides all of those things.”
As a teacher, Parmenter said she felt motivated to support BGC after she saw a student who refused to speak at all at school come out of his shell at BGC. Parmenter said witnessing the positive impact of BGC on her students firsthand motivated her to get involved with the Auxiliary.
Groves said many people are motivated to help with the Strawberry Shortcake Festival because they care deeply about children. The BGC supports children by providing resources they may not otherwise have, such as warm meals or access to professionals in a number of fields through Career Day, Groves said.
“It's hard to see anyone go hungry, but especially hard to see a child go hungry,” Groves said. “To be able to know that we're impacting over 100 kids in our community every single week is a big reason I joined.”
Parmenter urged people to attend the festival because it is a way to eat strawberry shortcake while also supporting a good cause.
“We would love if everyone would come out on Thursday and enjoy the strawberry shortcake with us because that $5, that delicious snack, really goes so far to support the kids,” Parmenter said.