• Sweet start to strawberry season
    By Bryanna Allen
    STAFF WRITER | June 19,2014
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    MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS — Fresh strawberries galore, more than 400 homemade biscuits and 15 gallons of vanilla ice cream were on hand to kick off the 39th annual Strawberry Festival in Middletown Springs on Sunday afternoon.

    Every year the event raises about $3,000 and benefits the Middletown Springs Historical Society.

    “It's a great way for the community to come together,” said Pat Hemenway, co-chairwoman of the event.

    “It's a fun, local event that supports a small town.”

    Molly Smith took her 3-year-old son, Logan, to the festival for the first time.

    “It's a cute festival,” Smith said, as she watched Logan climb a tree, wearing half of his strawberry shortcake on his face. “It's nice to see local vendors and the shortcake was really good.”

    Local musicians played on the lawn and a group of parents and kids took advantage of the warm weather by playing a casual game of football on the grass.

    Diane Trapeni and Tedda Drake lounged in beach chairs people watching as they munched on maple cashews just purchased from one of the vendors.

    “The atmosphere of this event is just so relaxing,” Drake said, “It's slow moving and I love the music in the background.”

    Trapeni has been coming to the festival for the past six years, and said the main thing that brings her back is the food.

    “I love the food,” she said, popping another handful of cashews into her mouth. “It's a country town event and it has great food.”

    Tara Beattie, 16, wore a bright yellow apron with a giant strawberry sewn on the front as she dished up shortcake biscuits before they were slathered in ice cream and strawberry sauce.

    “I like seeing everyone come out in the town,” said Beattie, who has been volunteering for the festival for several years. “It's nice to have people come together.”

    Thomas Slatin came to Middletown Springs for the first time this weekend, but the strawberry shortcake was just a bonus.

    Slatin's family history goes back five generations in the town and a grainy black-and-white photo of his great-great-great grandfather, Moses Hayes, hangs on the wall of the Historical Society building.

    “It's great getting to see the area where my family is from,” said Slatin, who lives in Albany, N.Y. “It's a nice town and a nice event. And the strawberry shortcake was delicious.”

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