On Saturday, July 6, the United Christian Church in Lincolnville will hold its 19th annual Strawberry Festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. According to church member Barbara Hatch, when the fundraiser started, “at first, it was just strawberries and food,” but it kept growing until it became “a full community day” on the grounds of the church, as well as inside the community building and the church itself.

One of the organizers of this year’s festival, Roberta Heald, said the event, which raises $5,000 to $6,000 for the church, is so successful because “almost everything is donated.” That includes the biscuits for strawberry shortcake, labor to pick the strawberries at a farm in Freedom, white elephant items and books sold during the festival, help with the children’s activities, even some of the entertainment.

Beginning at 9 a.m., strawberry shortcake and strawberry pie are available in the community building. In the same location, visitors will also find craft sellers; jams, jellies and relishes for sale; baked goods; and a sale of select books.

Hatch said visitors need not worry about getting a side of religion with their shortcake: “We don’t proselytize.”

The parish hall is the place where children can make masks, do summertime crafts or have their faces painted. And upstairs in the church sanctuary, Music Director Mary Schulien will have a display about the history of the church, which dates from around 1820.

At 10 a.m., there’s a parade that starts at Drake’s Corner Store and comes north on Route 52 to the church. At the halfway point, any children who want to be in the parade are invited to decorate their bicycles and join in.

Also part of the parade is a miniature horse owned by Alexandra and Justin Doan of Moose Ridge Farm, which Hatch said children are allowed to pet when the parade is over.

Outdoors at the church, children can enjoy a bean-bag toss, catch magnetic fish in a swimming pool and roll hula hoops. In addition, balloon artists Kyle Edgerly makes balloon animals that children may take home for free.

“There are no winners and losers,” of the children’s games, Hatch said. “If they play the game, they get a little prize.”

Heald said her husband, Bob Heald, is in charge of the crew cooking hot dogs, which may be had with fried onions and zucchini relish, if desired. And for the first time this year, there will be sno-cones to quench visitors’ thirst.

There is also entertainment for all in the form of a concert by the Lincolnville Band, as well as a performance by Rosey Gerry and Friends.

The event typically draws several hundred people, who consume 175 to 200 pounds of strawberries – organizers plan for around 500 shortcakes.

Organizers work hard to make it an inexpensive, family-friendly event, said Hatch. “It is an old-fashioned festival.”