Sunday, May 23, 2010

#24 Strawberry Festival - St. Jacob, IL - May 23, 2010

#24 - Strawberry Festival - St. Jacob, IL - May 23, 2010

It was a beautiful Spring day that felt like the middle of Summer. It was the first day of the year to break 90 degrees, and you could hear people crying for miles. Personally, I love the heat and 80 degrees is about my minimum. I'm not sure it was necessary for the sign to read "berry glad", but it's that down home charm that I love about getting out of town. Or maybe I'm getting soft.

Nothing sounded more refreshing on a hot day than a nice crate of cool strawberries. I could almost picture the dew drops on the fresh berries. This festival did not disappoint (well more on that in the next pic). On the left is a slice of homemade strawberry pie and on the right a slice of yellow cake slathered with sweetened berries. The cake and strawberries tasted like cake and berries. But the pie was amazing. It had chunks of berries on top, softly bobbing in a strangely gelatinous goo that seemed unnatural in color. Yet it tasted amazing. It also had a layer of whipped cream atop the crust, which balanced out the sweetness perfectly. If I could bake, I might have to make a pie this weekend.

Waiter, there's a fly in my cake. It was almost too perfect, so something had to give. I moved my first berry on the cake only to find the following. As a
Festivaler, sometimes you have to play the conditions. Having little shame, I cut out the small section and devoured the rest. Delicious. I'm sure we have all done worse, knowingly or not. I'll keep telling myself that.

has been a kind of resurgence of the sno-cone as of late, and pictured is a strawberry one. A kid had commandeered making these treats, and I thought she would douse that poor ice with syrup. Yet I was wrong. Oh well, one more dollar out of my pocket that goes to this little festival. I can live with that. That kid knew her food costs when it comes to ice vs. syrup, and she will make a great business woman someday.

Car shows are a staple at these smaller festivals. They are pure money makers for towns, as people pay them to park their cars. That's
ok with me, and there's something about a Corvette that just looks cool. They just don't make 'em like those old Stingrays anymore.

Festival Trinket of the Week:
Ok, so this trinket has nothing to do with strawberries, but it was so ingenious I had to have it. It's a finger oven mitt. You put a couple fingers in one sleeve and your thumb in the other, and whamo you have a heat-proof pincher. Perfect for grabbing a cookie sheet or pan without having to put on a whole glove. Maybe these exist all over and everyone has one, but I hadn't ever seen it before and now I have one too. My first usable trinket, solid.

Video of the week: Meet Paul Jarvis and Don Curtis. This is the two of them doing an eerily spot on cover of "Crazy" by Willie Nelson. If you look closely enough, you can even see Paul is playing a bass and snare drum with his feet while playing the guitar. Apparently these two play the last Thursday at a small club right by where I live the last Thursday of every month. I might have to go check them out, but here is a song from one of their gigs if you can't make it.

This was a fun little festival, and only a 40 minute drive from home. I hadn't even heard of St. Jacob but had driven by it plenty in the past. Further proof that if you're looking, these opportunities of silliness are all around you. Sometimes you have to look a little harder.

In all honesty, the festival wasn't even the big draw to this event. There was a large bicycle race in the morning, and everyone seemed to have those horrid bike shorts on at the festival. Surprisingly, there are a lot of out of shape bikers who should reconsider the look. The race, combined with the heat, even claimed a rider that day. As I was enjoying my strawberry treats one older gentleman fell over in exhaustion. A small crowd gathered, the paramedics arrived, and I returned to my treats. Don't worry, he had heat exhaustion and was being treated by professionals. One guy at my table even joked that it was good he collapsed there, rather than on the road somewhere in the middle of nowhere Illinois.

Now I know what you're thinking, "But Riz where can I find a video of a guy that looks like Neal Patrick Harris in a red jumpsuit doing a silly dance and a rap about a strawberry slurpee?" The answer, right here. Did you know that strawberries are actually in the rose family? Or that strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside? Find other great facts and excellent growing tips from the University of Illinois. Or maybe you're more concerned with the history of strawberries or wonder where they got their name. Then this is a great resource for you.

Personally, I love strawberries. But nothing ends a warm summer night better than a tall glass of strawberry milk with Nestle's Strawberry Powder (It has to be the powder, the syrup is not the same). Next week is Memorial Day, which is the unofficial start of Festival Season. I'm still waiting to see if Brett Michaels will show for RibFest on Saturday. After that, I need a Horseradish Recipe to defend my title on June 5th. Ideas? Thanks berry much for reading. Sorry, I had to.


  1. Wish I was there for the festival, but wasn't there a strawberry shortcake there (either food item or character)? I can't believe this is a complete festival without that. Or maybe you weren't complaining because this time you got there before all the food ran out. The band was pretty darn authentic, not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

    By the way, are you sure that "oven mitt" is not really a "finger puppet"?

  2. Rizzle...

    Good blog. The 2nd pic everything looks great. I would have done the same thing with the fly in my food. Dig it out and eat around so you are not alone there.

    The finger pincher mitt thingie is solid. Solid gold.


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