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Mattituck Strawberry Festival celebrates 63rd year

Victoria Scholtz, 2, from Mattituck takes a bite

Victoria Scholtz, 2, from Mattituck takes a bite of a chocolate-covered strawberry at the 63rd annual Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Credit: Randee Daddona

Five-year-old Avery Baxter knew exactly what she was looking forward to Saturday: “Strawberries!”

She and her parents, Larissa and John Baxter, were attending the 63rd Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival for the first time. The family recently moved to Mattituck, and wanted to come out for the community and for their daughter, they said.

“Seeing the light in her eyes when she gets to see all this going on is the best thing in the world,” John Baxter said.

The four-day celebration of the summer fruit, which ends Sunday, has been a community tradition for more than six decades, and coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvest on the North Fork.

Proceeds from the festival will support the Lions Club’s efforts to help the blind and will also be donated to more than 20 community and nonprofit organizations, according to the festival’s website.

But strawberries were the main attraction of the event. Festival attendees had their choice of strawberry delights: strawberry pies, strawberries dipped in chocolate, strawberry shortcake and strawberry daiquiris. Of course, those simply seeking a bite of the fruit alone were not disappointed.

“It’s all about the strawberries,” said Mitchell Schwartz of Patchogue. “We just moved back Long Island, so it’s a treat being out here in beautiful Mattituck.”

But other foods were offered as well, including Greek gyros and Italian barbecue. And of course, attendees could select more typical festival fare, such as funnel cakes, pretzels and roasted popcorn.

Several vendors spread across the festival’s large field, selling everything from jewelry to scented goods.

Carolyn Miles owns Scents 4 My Soul, which sells incense and oils, and has been coming to the festival for 10 years. But the atmosphere made it feel like anything but work, she said.

“To me it’s like a day on vacation,” she said.

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