Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile—no, it’s not Christmas. Those were the sights and sounds of the 100th Annual Strawberry Festival resonating through the summer atmosphere with the sunshine brimming and the blue skies dancing.
The Great Neck community celebrated the festivities of this groundbreaking fiesta with myriad musical performances, ethnic cuisines and artistic endeavors, hosted by the Great Neck Episcopal Ministry at the All Saints Church of Great Neck on Sunday, June 12.
“The Strawberry Festival is truly a blessed event where we see all sorts of cultures and nationalities—Chinese, Korean, me myself from Iran—come together and enjoy such a fabulous event in an amazing atmosphere,” said Councilwoman Anna Kaplan. “It’s a representation of our integrated Great Neck community living together harmoniously.”
That sentiment was surely evident with the unified cheers that bolstered the wrestling competitions and musical trances. Along with the talented displays came a variety of delectable treats—ranging from Asian signature dishes to the event’s own strawberry shortcake—that had visitors licking their fingers with delight.
“It’s a very special event for our community, and I take great pride in hosting such a welcoming event where everyone—from children to parents to elders—can feel at home,” said Father Joseph Pae of All Saints Church. “Our community has changed, Great Neck has changed and this event has changed, all to serve the well-being of our Great Neck citizens.”
Many groups came together to make this historic event a success. Youngsoo Choi, a Great Neck Korean American Civic Association board member, noted, “The event was presented by All Saints Episcopal Church in association with the Great Neck Korean American Civic Association, BEFULA Food Coop [Better Food & Life Style Active] and the Corean Culture Exposure Center.”
William T. Waters, an out-of-town visitor from Texas and a third-year West Point cadet, said, “The church is a beautiful venue for a wonderful event…It’s a nice contrast and a nice little way to spend my short break outside of the military.”
It was heartwarming watching so many people munching on strawberry shortcake with the works—ice cream and whipped toppings—while enjoying kids tackling each other in sand. The 100th Annual Strawberry Festival is a comprehensive illustration of our diverse and harmonious Great Neck community.