Sandy Spring museum’s Strawberry Festival

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SILVER SPRING, Md.– The 37th annual Sandy Spring Strawberry Festival was held at the Sandy Spring Museum on June 2 and 3.

The festival featured live music and performances, raffles, food and drinks, a plant sale, pony rides, kids activities, more than 40 art vendors and lots of strawberry-related fun.

“The festival is a community tradition,” said Sandy Spring Museum Executive Director Allison Weiss. “Everybody knows about this event and really looks forward to it. It’s just part of the history of the community.”

Festival visitors pass through the plant sale on the museum grounds. Photo by Haili Bruckner.

Along with the annual Olney Days celebration held in April and Women’s Board Picnic and Bazaar held in July, the Strawberry Festival is one of the Olney-Sandy Spring area’s biggest events of the year. It is run by more than 200 volunteers, many of which are students from nearby high schools.

“[The festival] started back when the museum was run completely by volunteers. For a long time, it was the only fundraiser the museum held, and it still is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Weiss.

The warm weather on Saturday brought a large crowd to the events held on the museum grounds.

Although the festival was also lively on Sunday, the rain attracted more visitors to the craft booths inside the museum.  

Sunday’s rain didn’t stop the fun at the Strawberry Festival! Photo by Haili Bruckner.

One vendor at the festival was Kathy Lynn, selling photo prints and stationery supplies from her company, Kathy Lynn Photography.

Kathy Lynn takes her photos at a local flower farm in Laytonsville. Photo by Kathy Lynn Photography.

“[The Strawberry Festival] is a great community activity — it supports the community and it supports the museum,” said Lynn, who has sold her photos at the festival for about five years.

Kate Gibney of LucidArts, another vendor at the festival, has been selling her jewelry around the area for about seven years, but came to the strawberry festival for the first time this year.

“I’ve heard really good things about [the Strawberry Festival] from other crafters and vendors and figured I would try it,” said Gibney.

Gibney’s jewelry on display at the Strawberry Festival. Photo by Haili Bruckner.

Local artist Savitha Rao also had a booth at the festival for the first time this year and hopes to come back in the future.

“I know [a resident potter at the Sandy Spring Museum] really well… she said because of what I do, she thought it would fit my art really well here,” said Rao.

A selection of Rao’s pottery designs. Photo by Haili Bruckner.

In addition to visiting vendors, resident artists also had a chance to show and teach about their work.

Resident potter Robin Ziek begins a new piece. Photo by Haili Bruckner.

“Partly, we are here for our own studio and partly, we are here for community education — it’s part of the mission of the museum,” said Robin Ziek, who has been a resident potter for four years.

Ziek and several other potters began at the museum after the Olney community center closed for renovation.

“Now we feel like this is home. The community center is open, but we haven’t gone back,” said Ziek.

Vendors inside the museum can be seen from the exit of the Sandy Spring Clay Works studio. Photo by Haili Bruckner.

The youngest vendors at the festival were Elanor and Amelia of Instagram account @llamacorn_slime.s. Their outdoor table housed a large display of slime, a popular craft among tweens and teens.

Amelia and Elanor at their slime booth. Photo by Haili Bruckner.
A fraction of the large selection of slime sold by @llamacorn_slime.s at the festival. Photo by Haili Bruckner.

“My mom was one of the people organizing [the festival], so I thought if she was going to be there, I should be there,” said Elanor. The girls hope to return to the festival next year as well.  

Various other vendors sold handmade jewelry, spices, artwork and handmade cards, which were all popular among festival-goers.

Beaded bracelets sold at the Strawberry Festival. Photo by Haili Bruckner.
Hand-drawn coasters by Linda Schoengold of DollyDoodleDesigns. Photo by Haili Bruckner.
While most vendors were selling crafts, The Cottage of Herbs was selling seasoning blends. Photo by Haili Bruckner.
Alcohol ink artwork by vendor Juliana Sá of Janie Kitty Ranger. Photo by Haili Bruckner.

Local families and new visitors enjoy the festival every year.

“People come from all over. It’s not just the immediate community,” said festival volunteer John Garten. “We have a lot of good events going on for the kids as well as the adults, there’s plenty to eat, there’s the music and the dancing… It’s the community coming together.”

For those who missed the Strawberry Festival this year, it will return next Spring.

In the meantime, other upcoming events at the museum include Salsa Lessons on June 14 and the Summer Beer & Wine Garden on the last Fridays of June, July and August

For more information, visit www.sandyspringmuseum.org.

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