Strawberries and ice cream: Hollis’s unbeatable combo
HOLLIS – Although only a couple of lazy, hazy days of summer are in the books this year, the sure sign summer has arrived in Hollis is the dependable appearance of strawberries, ice cream and band music.
A decent breeze made Sunday’s warm and increasingly humid temperatures quite bearable, and with plenty of shade trees in the vicinity a robust crowd arrived and for the most part stayed through this year’s edition of the regional attraction.
Besides providing their much-loved musical selections, the Hollis Town Band has deep roots in running the festival itself. According to vintage newspaper articles, the band actually ran the whole thing for a number of years, before turning to the Hollis Women’s Club for help with the strawberries-and-ice-cream part.
The club jumped in, and starting in the late ’70s teamed up with the band every year.
The library side of Monument Square is closed to traffic each year, allowing visitors to stroll freely from the triangular monument grounds to the grassy areas near the library and the Congregational Church of Hollis.
That’s where Brian and Jacqueline Wilmot and their dog Seamus shared ice cream and took in their first strawberry festival. “I really like the way they do this,” said Jacqueline Wilmot, who is from the Philadelphia area. She and Brian met at University of New Hampshire and later married; they only recently moved to Hollis.
Several vendors also set up along the closed roadway, and this year the Hollis-Brookline High School First Robotics team brought along one of its creations.
“We’ve had little kids drive it around,” said Robert Beaulieu, one of the team’s 25 advisors. As the “robot” goes along, it scoops up small basketballs, cycles them through its innards then shoots each one into a basket at the top.