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Volunteer saves Strawberry Festival

05/30/2018

If it weren’t for Greg Lucas with Moore’s Pies, there would be no Strawberry Festival this year.

Last year’s festival served more than 7,000 strawberry shortcakes, so event organizers ordered more than 4,000 pounds of strawberries to meet the growing demand. But just days before the festival in downtown Kokomo, it was discovered there would be no strawberries delivered.

A longtime supporter of the festival, Moore’s Pies had ordered the strawberries from a vendor in California. But because of a difficult growing year for strawberries, that vendor was not going to be able to fill the order. And worse yet, the vendor failed to communicate that the order would go unfilled.

“Here we are just days from the Strawberry Festival and we have no strawberries,” said Susan Alexander, manager of the Greater Kokomo Downtown Association. “But Greg and Moore’s Pies stepped up to save the day and to save the festival.”

Upon learning the bad news, Lucas instantly went on the hunt for a large quantity of strawberries and was able to source a supplier near Niles, Mich.

They wouldn’t be delivered on time through traditional shipping, so Lucas rented a truck, picked up the strawberries from two locations in Michigan and brought them back himself. Arriving Wednesday morning with 130 33-pound buckets of strawberries, Lucas was met with unloading assistance from other volunteers. Helping were Sgt. First Class Ryan George, Staff Sgt. Mitchell Fields and Private Loren Gardner with the local Army recruiting office, as well as Cody Foster and Jake Schaefer with the Kokomo Parks & Recreation Department.

“We can’t thank him enough for going so far above and beyond to help the community celebrate summer,” Alexander said.

Thanks to the commitment of volunteers like Lucas, the Strawberry Festival will go on as planned —from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 1, in downtown Kokomo.

For full festival details, visit www.firstfridaykokomo.com