Strawberries have really sweet personalities.
One of those sweet strawberries was Lacey Haberman, 8, who came in a strawberry costume to participate in the 77th annual Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church Strawberry Social on Tuesday, June 12. Red Oak is located seven miles southeast of Blooming Prairie.
Fifty-nine Red Oak volunteers made this event a successful fundraiser for the church with funds going to missions and other causes.
Linda Christianson, chairwoman of the event, said 471 guests attended the summer festival. She said 167 were fed over the lunch hour, including 40 from area nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Elderly facilities included Prairie Manor Care Center and Heather Haus of Blooming Prairie and Cedars senior living, Oaks senior living, Sacred Heart Care Center, St. Mark's Care Center/assisted living and Good Samaritan Comfort Care.
"We are so thankful for those who support our strawberry social," Christianson said.
Strawberry social visitors come from a 20-mile radius including Blooming Prairie, Hayfield, Austin, Rochester, Ellendale, Hollandale and Owatonna.
In addition to consuming strawberries and shortcake or strawberries and ice cream, guests viewed quilts on display for purchase. A bake sale was also held.
Chances were also sold on a quilt made by Diana Magnuson. The quilt measures 108 inches by 108 inches. The quilt features an interacting diamond design, teal blue and gray on one side and gray, black and white roses on the back side.
Christianson said 600 tickets were sold on the quilt raffle. "A woman from Florida called early Tuesday and wanted to buy 200 tickets at $1 each, hoping to win the quilt and give it as a wedding gift," she related.
Unfortunately, this ticket buyer was not successful. Sandy Bjork of Austin was the winner of the quilt. She and her husband are members of Red Oak.
Judy Wambeam handles the quilting projects as Mission Growth chair.
Picnic activities outdoors were also provided youngsters who attended.
Christianson said she had tons of thank yous to send to those who helped make the event a success. She said the meat and cole slaw were donated.
"We have been working feverishly for two months on this project," said Christianson. Planning is already beginning for next year with a critique meeting set for next week to summarize what went well and what needs to be changed, said Christianson. Next year's festival will be held on Tuesday, June 11.
Christianson thanked Brent Ingvalson, church council president, for the extra work he put into the event.
Most of the food, including the 200 pounds of strawberries prepared for the social, either ran out, or was close to running out.
Red Oak volunteers served 180 pounds of pulled pork, 120 hot dogs, cole slaw for 500 people and 2 1/2 roasters filled with beans.