Cars lined Two Lights Road and filled several makeshift parking lots at Maxwell’s Farm as scores of people flocked to Cape Elizabeth’s first annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday.

Festival-goers ambled among 20 vendor booths stocked with items from handbags and jewelry to fine art and food. People also had the chance to taste several strawberry-based foods, including old-fashioned strawberry shortcake, while children listened to the music of singer/songwriter Wayne from Maine.

“This is just great for the kids,” said Geoff West of Portland, who was visiting the festival with his family. “It’s just something nice for the family to go out and do, especially on a nice Saturday afternoon.”

As the temperatures approached 80 degrees, people chatted, picked strawberries and ate their strawberry treats.

“It’s wonderful and it’s a great event,” said Sean Steady of South Portland, who was attending with his family. “It’s great for the community and nice to see a nice sunny day and people are out enjoying it.”

The festival, aimed at educating residents about local strawberry production, encouraged attendees to farm hop. A map guided them from location to location – Maxwell’s, Alewives Brook, William H. Jordan and Shady Oaks farms; Walnut Hill Stables and various other local farms. There were tours of the farms, and at Shady Oaks, children also had the chance to ride ponies.

Catch a Piece of Maine, the Good Table and The Buttered Biscuit served fresh lobster and strawberry-based foods. Wayne from Maine performed several times throughout the day.

“I thought the Wayne from Maine concert was fun,” said 9-year-old Dana Peoples, who attended the festival with her family from North Conway, N.H.

“We came here to see the festival and support the local community,” said Ray Johnson of Scarborough. “It’s also a great chance to take the kids out for a good day and let them see what Maine is all about.”

“I like it all,” said 6-year-old Ellie Goodman from Portland. “I like to eat strawberries.”

Three farms in Cape Elizabeth – Maxwell’s, Alewives and William H. Jordan – grow strawberries on a large scale. The event was designed to draw awareness to their production.

Maxwell’s is the biggest producer, growing strawberries on 13 acres. The farm yields about 12,000 quarts of strawberries per acre, according to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

The strawberry season goes from late June to late July, said Bill Bamford of Maxwell’s Farm.

“We thought this would be a great way to kick off the year,” Bamford said. “We want people in Cape Elizabeth to know that agriculture is alive and well here.”

The event was sponsored by Re-Max Oceanside, William H. Jordan Farm, Inn-by-the-Sea and Kettle Cove Take-Out and Dairy Bar.

“We are hoping this will become a tradition,” said Nancy Miles, a member of the Cape Farm Alliance. “I think it’s going well, and the weather is helping us out. It’s a nice, steadiness of people. It’s really nice to have this type of event, and the children seem to be enjoying it.”

Vendors, too, said they were happy with the turnout and wanted to see the festival continue and grow.

“It’s just really great meeting people and it’s a nice day to be in Maine,” said Ayn Allmendinger, owner of the Daily Cloth, which produces custom-made handbags. “This is the sort of thing I love to do and hope to continue to do.”

The festival also featured a strawberry-themed potluck dinner at the Sprague Hall Grange on Friday. A silent auction followed, with items that included paintings, jewelry and a lobster dinner for six.

“People have always said Cape Elizabeth should have a strawberry festival,” said Suzanne Martin-Pillsbury, a Cape Farm Alliance member who organized the event. “We want people to be aware of what’s available here in our town from an agricultural perspective.”

Hope Taggert of Scarborough, and her kids, Emily and Nathan, had a fruitful afternoon collecting ripe strawberries in Maxwell Farm’s field off Two Lights Road during Saturday’s Strawberry Festival in Cape Elizabeth. Sonja Messerschmidt picks strawberries in Maxwell Farm’s field off Two Lights Road during Saturday’s Strawberry Festival in Cape Elizabeth. Originally from Germany, Messerschmidt said she and her husband, Kurt, always look forward to their annual pilgrimage from Portland when the berries are ripe.


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