By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR July 9, 2002 The residents of Livingston Manor recognize the sweet smell of success.
Its one part chicken barbecue grilled to perfection by the members of the local Presbyterian church and two parts freshly-picked strawberries.
Along with more than 60 vendors hawking their wares, the fresh fruit and delicious dinner lured more than 2,000 visitors and local residents to Water Wheel Junction in town Saturday afternoon for the 14th Annual Strawberry Festival.
It grew so exponentially this year that organizer Shirley Fulton actually found herself turning away people who wanted to cash in on the galas success and set up booths in the center of town.
They set up at Water Wheel Junction because it was the only spot in town big enough to accommodate all the activity, Fulton said.
And its the most scenic, she added.
But this year the action spread throughout town.
A special teddy bear stroller parade got the youngsters involved early with a walk down Main Street at 11 a.m. Led by the Mountain Tones band, moms and dads pushed their babies while toddlers carefully rolled their favorite dolls and stuffed animals down the street.
And when spectators reached the junction near the end of the street, there was plenty to keep them occupied.
Barry Foster, a business owner on Pearl Street, sat in his shop last year waiting for customers while residents filed into the festival by the thousands.
So this year he took a different approach. The shop, Hot Corner Sports Collectibles, was still open, but he was down in the center of the action manning a booth.
Im a new business, he noted. Ive only been here a year, and after all the advertising and Ive done a lot it still comes down to personal touch.
Besides, he noted, its a good way for businesses to show their support for the town.
Its local, and were all very loyal, he noted.
Loyalty has brought a lot of repeat customers to the festival over the years as well.
Resident Debra Miller has been to every single festival in the 14 years since Fulton kicked the event off to benefit the Presbyterian church.
As she picked up one of the last flats of strawberries available at a church booth, Miller said she enjoys wandering through the park and checking out all the different booths.
You can get a variety here, she noted. And you see new faces, new people, old friends.
Diana Fredenburg brought her children, Danielle and Lindsay, to the festival this year.
Its tradition, she said. I enjoy seeing everyone come out to enjoy the festivities.
And 9-year-old Danielle wouldnt miss the strawberries.
Maria Sedlacek set up a booth at the festival this year to introduce Livingston Manor residents to her native culture.
The Russian immigrant was unable to go home for a visit last year, but she wanted to immerse herself in something familiar. So she opened a booth in Livingston Manor, selling artifacts from her country, showing pictures of their intricate houses and beautiful countryside and explaining the history of Russia.
Sedlaceks samples of Russian crafts, from pottery to linen tablecloths, brought out the curiosity in many visitors.
In the different regions, they make different crafts, she explained. They use whatever they have handy so if they have wood, they do wood crafts, and if theyre rich in clay, they make pots.
Some visitors were scared that the imported goods would be too dear for their pocketbooks, but Sedlacek was proud of the response.
Its all about telling about my country for me, she explained.