Berry Fest Draws Folks For First Taste of Season

St. Mary of Czestochowa Church's strawberry festival runs through 4 p.m.

Bob Ogorzalek is an active parishioner of Middletown's St. Mary of Czestochowa Church. In fact, he's an active guy. He walked nine miles this morning just so he could enjoy strawberry shortcake for lunch guilt-free.

“I’ll be 64 in July. I went to school right here, I got married here, and my son was baptized here,” he says.

You might say he's sweet on the parish — or at least its annual Ladies Guild Strawberry Festival.

So even though he lives now in the Rockfall section of Middlefield, Ogorzalek cheerfully makes the drive every year to Middletown. “They have the best around,” he says, this morning, picking up three orders of ruby-red berries atop a halved buttermilk biscuit and topped with fresh, hand-whipped cream.

"My son said, 'I'm not having that!' So I said, 'go run three miles,'" Ogorzalek says.

Toni Strycharz, publicity director for the Ladies Guild, sat among nine women stemming and slicing strawberries for the shortcake. "These are all fresh berries from Pell Farm in Norfolk. We ask for the best ones. All the cream is whipped right at the church. We don't do anything ahead of time."

Middlesex Hospital license practical nurses parishioner Ann Carlson of Middletown and Rebecca Pezzella of Cheshire walked from across the street to take their lunch break at St. Mary. "We saw the sign. We're having shortcake for lunch," Pezzella said.

The event runs through 4 p.m. today at 70 South Main St. Just look for the “Williams Way” sign. Small orders are $4.50 and large $5.25. For takeout orders, call (860) 347-1221.

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