By Buffy Calvert
In the spring of 1945, Carl Anderson, a farmer on Fall Clove, donated his bumper crop of strawberries to the Andes Presbyterian Church Forum Society and the Strawberry Festival was born. Initially the date depended on the ripening of the berries, but a few years later Archie Glendenning, who owned the land adjoining the school, planted a big patch of berries. His wife Sylvia and other Forum members picked and froze berries to be ready for the Saturday of July Fourth weekend. Still later, the Temmings held berries in their freezer at the Andes Hotel for the great day, a tradition continued by Sally and Ed O’Neill.
Forum members bake 30 pies the night before in the church kitchen to augment those baked at home for the eat-in and take-home tables. The variety of rolling pins and ways of crimping the edges evoke memories of grandmothers’ kitchens and banter and gossip make the hours fly.
For 64 years people have been streaming in from near and far. (Our family used to drive eagerly three hours from New York for the treat.) They stand in line by the tempting craft table in a dreamy anticipatory glow…shortcake? Pie? A sundae? All three? then make the choice and top it off with coffee or secret-recipe strawberry punch. The tables fill up. Conversations flow between strangers, neighbors, and people who meet just once a year at the Strawberry Festival.
Families arrive wrapped in towels from an afternoon at the pool, with muddy sneaks from a day of gardening, or elegantly dressed for a night out. In every case to enjoy the guilty pleasure of eating dessert before dinner. Strawberries! Whipped cream! Pie!
An Andes tradition. What could be simpler? Or more delicious?
This year: Saturday, the Glorious Fourth, from 4-7 pm. ~