Estimated 60,000 visited Fort Mill park for S.C. Strawberry Festival

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comMay 5, 2014 

— The fifth annual South Carolina Strawberry Festival is in the books, and organizers are already looking to next year.

Monique Kilpatrick, who led events for the second year, said the festival continues to grow and positive comments abound.

“Great participation, great crowd, family-oriented,” she said. “It was a good time.”

Already suggestions are coming in for future festivals, like adding age groups to contests.

“It was great,” Kilpatrick said. “We actually heard that people wanted us to have more (categories).”

Below are a few results from the festival:

• The festival drew about 60,000 attendees. On Friday and Saturday, guests purchased more than 1,000 gallons of strawberries.

• The festival raised $2,500 for Cookies for Kids Cancer through the pageant People’s Choice award, and $2,000 each for the National Cancer Society (wrestling event) and multiple sclerosis (pig races).

• A hot wing eating contest sponsored by Puckerbutt Hot Sauce Co. went to Brian Woodard, with Fisal Abdelaziz in second and Shane Wallace in third.

• Emily Pilarczyk, 9, won the Berry the Competition Recipe Contest. There were 20 entries this year.

• Ryan Pesanka, a coach at Orchard Park Elementary School, won the celebrity strawberry shortcake eating competition. In second was Jason Johns, principal at Banks Trail Middle School.

• Mardell Schuster of Waxhaw, N.C., won the grand prize in a contest to design this year’s festival poster. The image was also made into festival shirts for sale at the event. Second place went to Daniel Evans of Greer and Debbie Whitsett of Fort Mill took third.

• CeCe Hensley, Ashley Jones and Erika Mauldin won sashes and tiaras during the South Carolina Strawberry Festival Pageant, held April 25 at Nation Ford High School. Hensley (Teen), Jones (Miss) and Mauldin (Mrs.) won among 25 contestants.

Check back later for more winners and results from the festival.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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