Friday, June 15, 2012

Strawberry Festival Features Food, Face-Painting & Hayrides

Anna Spiller on the potato planter that caused an eye injury recently (photo by Tim Gillis)
By Timothy Gillis

WELLS – The Wells Rotary Strawberry Festival will be held Saturday, June 16, at Spillers’ Farm, Route 9A, Branch Road, in Wells. Bill and Anna Spiller, who own the farm, say they have been getting ready for the festival for weeks now, and look forward to annual event. Jim Spiller, their son, started the festival five years ago when he was president of the rotary. He and his wife Jeannine own Spillers’ Farm Store, and they have also been gearing up, baking all the homemade biscuits and shortcakes that will be for sale to help raise money for local rotary projects. They will also be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage and peppers. And it continues to be a family affair, as their daughter, Michelle, will be doing free face-painting for children.
“She’s a (University of Maine at) Farmington grad, with a degree in early childhood education,” Jim Spiller said. “She’s awesome with the kids.”
Bill and Anna raise the berries and will be conducting the pick-your-own aspect of the festival. Also, they will be giving free hayrides on the hour, at 11 a.m., 12 noon, 1 and 2 p.m.
“The strawberries are early this year,” Anna said. “People have been picking their own here for more than a week.” The Spillers get up at 5 a.m. each day to begin the daily labors of life on a farm. They have a new chore, as well. There are two baby geese who joined the fourteen adults recently. Caring for them has added to the tasks, and made for some dangerous times, in fact.
“I hurt my ear when I was trying to help one of the babies through the fence,” Anna said. “The mother attacked me. Bill got hurt too when trying to get a goose out of the area. He smacked his head on the woodwork.”
Anna was popped a good one by the handle of a potato planter when hauling it out for re-use. Luckily, she had her safety goggles on, so the injury was minimized. They had put it away for the season, but needed to get it back out again when the local food pantry told them how much they would need. “We got the call, and I knew right away we would need to plant more,” Bill said. The Spillers donate food to the York County Shelter.
All the pain is worth it to the Spillers. “It’s all part of farming,” Anna said.
Folks attending the Festival should be prepared to park on grass. There will be parking attendants to help guide people to the pick-your-own area, as well as other Festival events.