Our Lady of Peace's Strawberry Festival is family affair for many

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Thomas Sherlock, 6, carefully dropped marbles into a bucket filled with water.

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Our Lady of Peace principal Stephen Hickey is dunked in a water tank during the Strawberry Festival at the North Augusta school.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Our Lady of Peace principal Stephen Hickey is dunked in a water tank during the Strawberry Festival at the North Augusta school.

His goal was to drop one into a shot glass at the bottom of the bucket to win a prize. His consolation prize was a piece of candy.

The booth was one of several at Saturday’s Strawberry Festival at Our Lady of Peace Catholic School, the school’s second-largest fundraiser.

Susan Opfer volunteered at the marble game along with her friend Baronessa Bussey. Bussey’s son, Charlie Bussey III, is a third-grader at the school.

Across the field, Cecilia Thur­mond watched her son, Wyman, jump in the bounce house. In the 10 years her son has attended the school, the annual fes­tival has become a family affair for her, and the school her home away from home.

“He’s pretty much grown up here,” she said.

Even though her son will graduate from the K-8 school this year, she plans to continue to attend the festival.

A DJ provided musical entertainment and the basketball court a makeshift dance floor. Nearby, a dunking booth attracted a small crowd while across the soccer field, attendees tried their hands at game booths sponsored by the school’s classes.

Alvin Stevens has grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for the event as one of the parish’s Knights of Columbus since the festival began 27 years ago.

Stevens’ four children attended the school in the 1970s, and now two of his grandchildren attend.

“Ever since my kids were going to school here we’ve been coming (to the festival),” he said.

About 100 gallons of strawberries are donated every year by parishioners Clyde and Marilyn Gurosik, who own Gurosik’s Berry Plantation. The berries are used to create a variety of desserts sold during the festival.

For the past three years, Bruster’s Ice Cream on Knox Avenue has used some of the strawberries to make strawberry ice cream for the event, said Pam Mentrup, one of the organizers.

The event also included a silent auction and food prepared by the church’s Hispanic families.

The festival raises about $4,000 each year. This year, funds will be used to purchase more smartboards, Mentrup said.


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