TROY — With hours of video footage and stacks of newspaper archives from the past 40 years, Troy Strawberry Festival Business Manager Corie Schweser has enlisted the community to help preserve the festival’s history — one decade at a time.
During the month of May and through the June 4 and 5 festival, the Troy Strawberry Festival will hold showings of “Troy Strawberry Festival: 40 years in 40 minutes” at the historic downtown Mayflower Arts Center. The lobby of the theater will also serve as an exhibit of the festival’s news media archives from the festival’s humble beginnings in 1977 through today’s festival, which draws hundreds of thousands to Troy each June.
Take 2 Productions of Troy took footage from four decades of video tapes, DVDs and other media after TV-5 public access television shut its doors last year. The organization donated all the footage to the Troy-Miami County Libary Local History Library. Scott Robinson has narrowed down hundreds of hours of festival footage to create a unique look back at the festival’s history as well as a glimpse forward of what the festival may look like at its 50th anniversary in 2026.
Schweser said she was contacted by local historian Patrick Kennedy to brainstorm ideas on how to preserve the video footage as well as use the interviews from Troy’s local namesakes, including the late Mayor Frank Prouty and other notable community figures.
Schweser said she has enjoyed reviewing clips of the movie throughout the festival’s four decades on the levee and downtown.
“It’s been so fun to see the people, the fashions — oh the knee socks and short shorts and the hair styles! — and to see the landscape of the festival change over the years,” she said. “The video brings back a lot of great memories, including the late Mayor Prouty and seeing people like that on film. It’s been a wonderful experience and we can’t wait for everyone to come out and enjoy it.”
Schweser also tapped Dee Mahan to help archive the festival’s numerous news clippings from the past four decades. Mahan helped identify familiar faces in photographs as well as formed a committee who divided up into decades to help organize the festival’s scrapbooks of history and information, which will also be on display at the theater.
“We thank the Troy Foundation for funding this archive project. Without their support we could not preserve the legacy for future generations,” Schweser said.
The movie presentation and history exhibit times and dates will be announced at a later date on the festival’s website at gostrawberries.com or check the Mayflower Arts Center’s calender of events at www.mayflowerartscenter.com.
Reach Melanie Yingst at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews