Attention all strawberry fans and fanatics…ready to sample every type of strawberry concoction imaginable? On the 19th and 20th Oxnard makes your strawberry dreams possible by hosting the “2012 California Strawberry Festival”! If you can’t make Oxnard (or have a serious strawberry addiction), you can always attend the “Garden Grove Strawberry Festival” on the 25th through the 28th of May.
Oxnard’s “2012 California Strawberry Festival” (May 19-20th, 2012)
With over 50 unique food booths, anyone with strawberry fever will be giddy with the selection. Old-fashioned (but never boring) chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberry cotton candy, strawberry funnel cakes- who can say no to that? If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous try the strawberry nachos, pizza, kabobs, and even deep fried strawberries!
If you need something to wash it down with, head over to the wine pavilion and drink, what else? Strawberry wine! Strawberry beer is also on the menu, but I haven’t gathered enough courage to try it. Don’t worry everyone; this Budweiser sponsored event has plenty of regular beer available!
After you’ve eaten your fill, stroll down the “Strawberry Promenade” for some music, culinary demonstrations, and local exhibits. Don’t miss the artist section, with 250 artists and crafters showing original works of paintings, furniture, jewelry, toys, photography, and a lot more.
As for the kids, take them to “Strawberryland”! With free rides like the bungee bounce, climbing wall, berry go whirl, and the mini train, your wallet can take a break. Don’t forget to take a picture with the one and only “Strawberry Shortcake”( though you may have to explain to the kids who she is!). For kids 10 and under, the “USTA SmashZone” is a brand new addition. Smashzone is a 53-foot interactive trailer with two kid-sized tennis courts which is a cool why to give tennis a chance, but on smaller courts using kid-sized racquets along with lower compression balls. For the little ones, a nursing station and baby changing area are provided.
Tickets can be purchased through the website or at the gate. General Admission: $12, Seniors/Military: $8, Kids (5-12): $5. Parking is: $10, or you can check the website for complimentary shuttle service. The shuttle service is recommended due to the large crowds this event attracts, and for people who don’t like parking on a dirt lot.
“Garden Grove Strawberry Festival” (May 25-28th, 2012)
Free Admission…let me say that again. FREE Admission!!! For the grand total of $0, you can meet “Glee’s” Damien McGinty, Karan Brar from Disney’s “Jessie”, Charlie O’Connor from “The Bachelor”, and Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan, and Phillip P. Keene from “The Closer. Snoopy will also be making an appearance!
Since 1958 Garden Grove has played host to the strawberry festival, continuing many of the same traditions. They still hold a much anticipated parade (with celebrity Grand Marshalls), a “Red-Head Round-up Contest”, and give proceeds to local charities. The festival has grown over the years to include a “Strawberry Idol Karaoke” Contest, kids pageants, and a day of free food and rides for special needs kids.
The food is mainly fair food, but who says no to corn dogs, funnel cake, and nachos? Don’t miss out on the Giant Strawberry Shortcake Cutting Ceremony at 6M on Friday, May 25th, to get your free shortcake! Check the website for specials on carnival ride wristbands, and shuttle services.
***Please remember that these are local strawberry festivals. Please don’t go expecting it to be on a huge plantation or to swim through a sea of strawberries. These are local events with proceeds going to local farmers and charities. Have fun!