Faylene Davis, Frisky Irvin, Maurya Teale, Evelyn Brant, Letha Stafford, Isabelle Smith and Helen Eagle outside the Wadhams United Church of Christ, home to the annual Strawberry Festival which was honored with a TAUNY Heritage Award Oct. 13.
A Wadhams June tradition has been named a “North Country Legend.”
The Wadhams Strawberry Festival, held on Father’s Day each year, was honored with the North Country Heritage Award by the Canton-based organization Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY).
“Every year residents of Wadhams look forward to the Strawberry Festival, sponsored by the United Church of Christ,” said TAUNY in announcing the award. “Now in its 147th year, the event is held in the parish hall and on the church grounds. While there’s music and other festivities, strawberry shortcake from the new crop is the true highlight of the year.”
“It is a very nice achievement for the Wadhams Church,” Faylene Davis of the Strawberry Festival said. “Many people have worked putting on the Strawberry Festival over the 100 plus years.”
For Davis, the festival is a part of her life from when she was a child.
“I remember going when I was in grade school. My grandparents took part in cutting up strawberries and making ice cream,” Davis said. “Now my grandchildren come to the Festival.”
“I was surprised by it,” Evelyn Brant said. “Margaret Gibbs nominated us for it. It was a very emotional award for recognizing not only the present but everyone that has made this a part of Wadhams history, and this has quite a history.”
Brant said she has a collection of past Strawberry Festival programs and pictures.
“This event started as something that was held at the different farms back in 1866,” Brant said. “I had a program that advertised the strawberry shortcake for 15 cents a dish.”
The award was presented to members of the festival committee Oct. 13 by Gibbs, who heads the Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown. The event was held at the Best Western University Inn, Canton. Other award winners included Leon Boyea, an inductee of the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame; and the Gunnison Memorial Chapel Bell Ringers of St. Lawrence University.
The 2014 Wadhams UCC Strawberry Festival will be held Sunday, June 15.