St. Jacob Strawberry Festival and Berry Bicycle Ride This Saturday

May 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Pedal on down to St. Jacob, Illinois, on Sunday, May 19, for the 28th annual St. Jacob Strawberry Festival and Berry Bicycle Ride.

The Berry Bicycle Ride will kick off the event at 7:30 a.m. at St. Jacob Township Park. There are four trail routes for riders with different skill levels (super short, short, medium and long) on mostly flat terrain. The ride will end at the strawberry festival with strawberry shortcake for all the riders. Wouldn't want all those calories you burned to go to waste!

The Strawberry Festival and Berry Bicycle Ride is run by the United Church of Christ and features all manner of strawberry treats prepared by members of the church. It starts at 10 a.m. and the fun continues until 4 p.m.

You can preregister for the bike ride online. Registration prices are $11 for Trailnet members, $16 for non-members and $6 for children. Prices will go up after Friday, May 17, though, so register soon.

Steve Schmidt of Trailnet estimates that the largest biking crowd they ever had for the event was about 1,200 people, but a crowd of 900 is average. Either way, that's a lot of bikes.

Entrance to the festival is free, so once the bike ride has ended, bikers can and festivalgoers can sate their hunger with treats like strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake and strawberry ice cream. There will also be lunch food like brats, hot dogs and shish-kabobs.

The festival will also feature live music from the Smokehouse All-Stars Bluegrass Band and entertainment from the Slappers Country Dance Group. There will be jump houses for kids and a Corvette show for those less interested in strawberries and more interested in fast cars. Craftspeople and vendors from around the area will have booths set up to sell their wares like jewelry and wood carvings.

In the next few days, two trucks full of strawberries from California will be arriving at the church so preparations can begin. Each of the strawberries will be washed and cut by hand by the members of the congregation, and then carefully baked into a pie or arranged atop a slice of angel-food cake. It's a labor of love, but the results are sure to be delish!