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A 'berry' festive time at annual Strawberry Festival

A 'berry' festive time at annual Strawberry Festival

Upper Union Street celebration boosts businesses
A 'berry' festive time at annual Strawberry Festival
Scarlett, 4, shops for strawberries with her dad, who did not want to disclose her last name, at the Strawberry Festival.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

It was a "berry" good day at Upper Union Street Business District’s 12th annual Strawberry Fest and Art Show on Saturday. The sun peeked out for the final hour of festivities as festival-goers strolled, sampled and supported local businesses.

“It’s good to get the community together to support local business,” said Sondra Stephens, owner of Sondra’s Fine Jewelry.

She offered free jewelry cleaning and, as part of ongoing charity efforts, invited Glenville’s Animal Protective Foundation to set up outside her shop for the day.

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Members of the Voice of Grove Drum perform at the Strawberry Festival on Union Street on Saturday in Schenectady. (Peter R. Barber)

Lorrian Gagne, Ski Bennett and Harline Andrus manned APF’s booth and were giving out information about the organization.

“We hope to raise awareness for what we do for animals,” said Gagne.

A small flea market benefited Schenectady Home Furnishings, a nonprofit that helps provide household items for people in need.

Dr. Albert Loffredo has volunteered with the organization for a couple of years.

“I am a retired pediatrician and had time on my hands,” he said. “I volunteer because of the organization’s dedication to people.”

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Quenton Cain (from left), Henry Fernandez and Maddie Civill perform at the Strawberry Festival on Saturday. (Peter R. Barber)

Festival attendees patronized local shops and took in live tunes from Long Bow Trio, HaNG and more.

The business district’s newest resident, Bread from Brooklyn, opened its doors, selling freshly delivered bagels, donuts and Italian cookies.

Homestyle Pizza had a bounce house in its parking lot that was a hit with first-time Strawberry Festival attendees Tara Byrne’s family.

“We just moved to the area and came down to check it out,” Byrne said. “My daughter has had a great time. She got her face painted, got ice cream and is in the bounce house.”

Grown-up first timers had fun as well. Albany residents Jay and Lucy Brown sipped wine samples at the Thousand Islands Winery tent.

“So far, so good,” said Jay. “The music is nice and we stopped over to check out the wine.”

Lucy said the winery’s pinot won her over.

“I’m a wine person,” she said. “I love semi-sweet and pinot is my favorite.”

The Electric City Co-op was on hand with membership information as the would-be grocery aims to gather 300 members to move forward on a grocery store featuring locally-sourced, unique produce and other grocery offerings.

Throughout the day, shops and restaurants hosted special events and tastings.

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