ASHLAND — Shoppers and strawberry aficionados gathered at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties Chocolates Friday for the first day of Grandpa’s 22nd annual Strawberry Feast.

The event, which runs through Sunday, offers visitors a number of strawberry-flavored foods like homemade strawberry shortcake, strawberry fudges, strawberry cheese, and more.

General manager Krista Bowles said the homemade strawberry shortcake is her favorite food offering, and she has it for lunch every day.

The strawberry feast started around the turn of the century when the owners of Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties Chocolates visited Florida. While there, they went to a strawberry festival and decided to start one back home in Ashland.

“They kinda thought ‘Well, that would be a good thing to do during the summer.’ So that’s how it started. We had been doing strawberry shortcakes and over the years produced that into lots of strawberry goodies,” Bowles said.

The strawberry feast was originally to give visitors and community members something to do when the Ashland Balloonfest only featured a Balloonglow, Bowles said. Now, it syncs up with the fest every year.

The strawberry feast is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Life section is supported by Brethren Care Village in Ashland.

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