Hundreds of people lined up in the Anderson Town Center on Friday afternoon during the 26th annual Strawberry Festival.

Volunteers, in the shelter of an open tent, passed out bowls of strawberries, scoops of vanilla ice cream and pieces of homemade shortcake. The smell of hot dogs on the grill filled the air and attracted more people to the event.

The event, which was sponsored by the Anderson Family YMCA, raises money for youth programs and services. Mark Eddy, chief operating officer for the YMCA, said he was pleased with the way the festival went.

“We’re thrilled that we can do this,” he said. “We’re just pleased that the community comes out and helps out.”

With the help of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program and First Presbyterian Church, 48 flats of strawberries were cleaned and cut, 50 large pans of shortcake were baked and divided and 20 tubs of ice cream were hauled out to the Town Center.

Pay Less Supermarkets donated the strawberries and Prairie Farms provided the ice cream at a discounted price for the festival.

Romona and Dave Sylvester used the festival as an opportunity to have a family outing with their daughter, granddaughter and great-grandchildren.

The family went to the festival at 11 a.m., when it first opened. It was Romona’s first strawberry festival, and her first taste of strawberries for the year.

“It all tastes great,” she said as she took another bite of her strawberry-covered ice cream.

Romona’s daughter, Connie Millikan, and Connie’s daughter, Amy Millikan, had been to one strawberry festival before, but before the Town Center was open.

“The addition of the park was really nice,” Connie said.

Last year, the YMCA was able to raise about $4,000 to help the organization.

“The Y has a policy that we never turn anyone away for their inability to pay,” Dan Sager, executive director of the Anderson Family YMCA, said. The money helps families who cannot afford to pay the full price for services.

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