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A Berry Good Time

30,000 turned out for food and fun at weekend-long Long Grove Strawberry Festival.

A sweet mix of food, summer weather and a county fair atmosphere brought out an estimated 30,000 people over the weekend to Long Grove’s .

Music ranging from oldies to Latin rhythms to folk filled the air as couples, parents pushing strollers, and lines of cars traversed the busy intersection of Robert Coffin and McHenry in the historic village.

“This is a good as we’ve ever done,” said John Maguire, a spokesman for the festival, which he said attracted 20 food and service vendors, 30 artists and 20 sponsors.

Sitting on the porch of the Long Grove Soap and Candle Shop overlooking a jammed Old McHenry Road, Pat and John Lokai and Jordan and Patty Vangel said they came all the way from the Dayton, Ohio, area for the event.

Jodi Hutch, event coordinator for the , said the business prepared 10,000 chocolate-covered strawberries, arguably the signature treat of the festival.

Ticking off the ingredients as workers Gloria Alvarez and Magdalena Sanchez hand-dipped the fruit in chocolate, Hutch revealed “the secret” to each strawberry.

“It’s the sugar bath that we give each strawberry that makes the difference,” she said.

Although the strawberry was the raison d’être, Polish entrees, various forms of chicken on a stick, Chicago-style hot dogs and, of course, corndogs, made inroads among festival-goers as well.

But Saturday’s highlight appeared to be an ice cream eating contest on Towner Green in which contestants were timed as they ate through a pint of ice cream.

Eleven-year-old Brendon Micor, of Morton Grove, walked off with the kids' title after becoming the first to work his way through his pint.

For his trouble, Brendon received a gallon of ice cream.

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