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16th Annual Wayne Scott Strawberry Festival a day of fun and fundraising

Hannah Swayze • May 19, 2018 at 9:49 PM

It was a sweet Saturday in Unicoi as thousands gathered at Unicoi County Elementary School for the 16th annual Wayne Scott Strawberry Festival.

Over 100 vendors were on site to cater to crowds at the festival, which was started years ago by Wayne Scott and taken over by the town of Unicoi in 1992.

"Every year we grow and grow," said Tina Wilcox, festival organizer and assistant city recorder for the town of Unicoi.

Regional folks know the name Scott Farms because every spring as strawberries begin to ripen, big, juicy red strawberries in white baskets show up in grocery stores and in strawberry stands in the area that bring long lines as everyone waits to get their baskets.

Scott's Farm was founded in 1959 by Wayne Scott, who died in 2008. The company is now run by his two sons, Steve and David Scott.

Strawberries, specifically Scott's strawberries, are everywhere you look from the food sold to festival-goers to being handed out alongside sparkly crowns in large baskets to the winners of the Miss Strawberry Pageant.

Festival-goers Saturday lugged around their baskets of fruit while enjoying a wide array of activities such as meandering through the craft market shopping through stands selling handmade jewelry, homemade jams and other fun items and treats.

Inflatables and pony rides are present for the children, and food of all kinds are for sale.

Food vendors at the Strawberry Festival are exclusively nonprofit organizations. Church groups and many community organizations sold a smorgasbord of food with everything from pulled pork to tamales to Italian ice being served.

One of the on-theme vendors this year was the Clinchfield Seniors Center.

The center's booth was serving up sundaes, pies and shortcakes with fresh strawberries.

Glennis Walsh, center program coordinator, said that all the goodies are baked before the event and then the strawberries are bought that morning from Scott's Farms and incorporated into the dishes, with volunteers working all day dicing up strawberries.

Walsh said that they have been coming to the festival for over 20 years, and it's one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, sometimes making a much as $2,000 for the center.

"All the cakes are baked by our volunteers," said Walsh, nodding to a line of tables filled with volunteers assembling the baked goods and sundaes for hungry customers.

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