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Festival has bluegrass, red berries

Lucky church members clean berries before last year's Strawberry Festival event. Berry cleaning, according to organizers, is one of the favorite chores for members before the festival, getting more volunteers for that activity than for any of the others. Submitted photo

The 127th annual Memorial Lutheran Church, Afton Strawberry Festival, will be held Saturday, June 20, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the church, 15730 Afton Boulevard S.

The congregation plans to sell and serve more than 500 pounds of locally grown strawberries during the three hours of the festival.

In addition to the strawberries and cream feature of the day, the menu includes a ham dinner complete with potato salad, baked beans, Swedish rye bread, relishes, and cake.

The festival also features entertainment by the Zumbro Bluegrass Band and Youth Jazz Ensemble; bake and book sales; and the church's youth will offer face painting for youngsters.

The cost is $12 for adults; $5 for children ages 4 through 12; and free for children under 4.

The festival began as a potluck in 1883 and grew to become a community affair and reunion for many who attend. It has always featured strawberries because they were among the primary crops in the Afton area.

Memorial Lutheran Church of Afton is located on Highway 18 west of downtown Afton and the Afton House Inn.