Strawberry Festival: Shortcake, 100 exhibitors

More than 100 crafters and vendors are expected for the annual St. Stephen’s Strawberry Festival at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 6807 Northumberland Highway, Heathsville. The free, rain or shine event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 26 is a Northern Neck tradition for the Memorial Day weekend.

The spectacular line up of festivities draws 5,000 attendees and includes regional craft exhibitors and vendors selling handmade goods, a church plant sale with hundreds of native plants at low prices, a bake sale, music by Legacy and Cindy Washburn, a variety of children’s activities, face painting and bargains galore at the St. Stephen’s Thrift Shop.

Each year church volunteers bake 1,200 homemade strawberry shortcakes and spend a day slicing the strawberries. There are also 1,000 quarts of fresh, local strawberries for sale.

The menu will include barbecue, crab cakes, hot dogs, gyros, snow cones and more from food trucks, as well as sweets from the popular church bake sale.

In addition, there will be tours of the historic St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church that was consecrated in 1881. The Gothic style church ranks among Virginia’s best examples of the wooden Carpenter Gothic style popular throughout the country in the mid-1800s.

“The Northern Neck community looks forward to this event every year and we love hosting it,” said Rev. Lucia Lloyd, rector. “It’s the largest fundraiser for the church and the proceeds go towards outreach in the local community. Our volunteers love watching everyone have a great time. It makes all the hard work worth the effort.”

The festival opens with the presentation of the colors, followed by the opening of strawberry and vendor sales.

Parking and admission are free.