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Sewickley church readies for annual strawberry festival

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The yearly strawberry festival at St. Andrews United Presbyterian Church gives people something fun to do on a Friday night, and helps to support local organizations, said the Rev. John Dykstra.

Church member Eileen Kearcher of Aleppo Township said money raised at the third annual event, set for 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at 801 Beaver St., Sewickley, will go to a good cause. Funds are combined with money raised at the church's annual flea market, held during Sewickley's Harvest Festival each September.

Kearcher said in the past, money has been donated to Sewickley Valley YMCA and Union Aid Society. “Every year, we get new requests,” she said.

Kearcher 84, who has been a church member since she was 8, said before the strawberry festival, “the big thing was the salad luncheon every year that was widely attended.

“But when the older folks started passing away, there weren't a lot of people left to do that. So, the last few years, we've had the strawberry festival, and we've been able to have enough people to help to pull it off.”

She said the festival has drawn about 60 people the past few years.

“But we'd really like to see at least 100,” she said. “We are planning for 100, and we are hoping for nice weather.”

People will have the choice of sitting outside or inside. About 10 volunteers organize the event, making the sponge cake at home. This year, eight or nine cakes will be made.

Those attending have their choice of eating the berries with the sponge cake and ice cream, or can opt for just berries and ice cream.

Each year, members try to find a local homegrown source for the strawberries.

Children also will make a strawberry-themed craft with Karen Hallisey, church member and YMCA chief operating officer.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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