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Strawberries from Hollis farms get a sugary coating for the shortcakes and strawberry rhubarb crisp at the annual Hollis Strawberry Festival. Courtesy photo.




Hollis Strawberry Festival

When: Sunday, June 22, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Where: On the Hollis Town Common (rain location at the Hollis Brookline Middle School, 25 Main St., Hollis)
Cost: Free admission, but bring money for strawberry shortcake and strawberry-rhubarb crisp (cost ranges from $5 to $7 depending on your choice of toppings)
Visit: hollisnh.org




A sweet tradition
Hollis Strawberry Festival celebrates the fruit harvest with shortcake and crisp

06/19/14



 The Hollis Strawberry Festival isn’t just about savoring strawberry sweets like shortcake, ice cream and crisp (although that’s certainly the delicious part of it). It’s about preserving history and celebrating farming, too.

Hollis Woman’s Club member Lori Dwyer, the chair of this year’s Strawberry Festival, said that the town of Hollis has been holding its annual June festival for well over 68 years.
“We had a feeling that it started sooner than that, but the first written record we have is in 1946,” she said. “It began way back when, by the band itself. The [Hollis Town] Band put on the concert, their family members did all the baking. … It was started for the purpose of providing the farmers an afternoon to enjoy themselves, to have an afternoon of music and special treats. Times were really hard then. … So, it is a festival that celebrates the Hollis farming community.”
The farming community is still integral to the annual festival, as all the strawberries are grown at Lull Farm and Brookdale Farm in Hollis. Dwyer said that she’s already ordered 270 quarts of strawberries.
The Hollis Woman’s Club and the Hollis Town Band organize the entire festival. In the big tent there will be strawberry shortcake, strawberry rhubarb crisp, plus strawberry sundaes with strawberry-flavored ice cream made with local strawberries from Doc Davis ice cream.
“The shortcake is basically more of a cake consistency,” Dwyer said. “The crisp is a mix of strawberries and rhubarb, sugar and cornstarch, and orange juice … the usual crumble topping with brown sugar, oatmeal and butter.”
Last year was the first year strawberry rhubarb crisp was introduced, and it’s made with a recipe tested by Hollis Woman’s Club members.
All the prep work for the festival is run like a well-oiled machine. On Friday, the Woman’s Club, Town Band, and other local groups like the school robotics team will help with a hulling party to prepare all those strawberries and rhubarb for baking. Volunteer bakers are given shortcake and crisp recipes, and take home the hulled fruit to bake the strawberry goodies on Saturday. They then arrive on Sunday with everything baked for the festival.
Festival attendees will place their orders in the cashier’s tent.
“They’ll be given a number and go to the big tent,” Dwyer said. “It wasn’t done like that in previous years. Two new members that worked at it last year decided it needs to be revamped. I think they’re on to something; I think it’s going to work out very well.”
There’s no admission fee to the festival, but strawberry treats cost between $5 and $7, depending on desired toppings. Throughout the afternoon, guests can savor the sweets while listening to the music program by the Hollis Town Band or check out vendors selling items like jewelry and pottery. 
 
As seen in the June 19, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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