Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oxnard Strawberry Festival

Every May Oxnard hosts their annual Strawberry Festival. It always seems to fall on my birthday weekend and since our arrival at Edwards we've always had plans preventing us from attending. So you could say it was on our proverbial Edwards bucket list. This year, although it was tightly sandwiched between business trips, we were able to attend. On top of that, in the last six months our friends from Dayton, OH have moved out to Point Mugu enabling us to combine the Strawberry Festival with a much overdue visit to Mr. & Mrs. M and their two adorable children.

I'm not going to lie, the Strawberry Festival was a bit of a let down. (As was the Avacado Festival in Carpenteria and the Poppy Festival in Lancaster.) I suspect it is because I have high standards for "festivals." In Georgia the Vidilia Onion Festival, for example, shuts down the whole town. Streets are closed and filled with every type of handmade craft, kids ride and Onion treat that you can imagine. When your at the Vidilia festival you know there are lots of people around, but you never feel crowded. The Strawberry Festival, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. The park and surrounding streets were cordoned off, but then the booths were arranged into a labyrinth - we frequently found ourselves in a dead end with hundreds of other people trying to turn around. Food booths were randomly grouped so that lines ran into the entertainment seating area. Although they have been holding the festival for a long time, it doesn't feel like they have their act together.

It is not all bad though, the fair has a great shuttle system that utilizes the school buses and several shopping center parking lots. We used the free shuttle, instead of paying $10 to park right at the fairgrounds, and found it convenient and quite fun. The shuttles were always there and drop off right at the gate. We were revealed not to be sitting in traffic.

The festival is held smack dab in the middle of the strawberry harvest - everywhere you look there are strawberries being picked. We were able to stop at some road side stands and pick up fresh berries - or you can buy them from the growers right at the festival.

The highlight of our trip was the Kashi/Burts Bees booth where after tasting a variety of products and learning about "7 whole grains on a mission" we were given a gift bag with all sorts of goodies from Kashi and Burts Bees. It was well worth our stop at the fair.

If Strawberries were your main reason for attending the fair - you would not be disappointed. There were strawberry nachos (pictured above), strawberry pizza, strawberry shortcake and strawberry parfaits .. if you could find them. It was hard to find the strawberry treats as they weren't labeled particularly well, but once you found them you were sure to enjoy them.

We stayed for about 2 hours - if we had kids with us we probably could have managed another hour with all the free kids activities. Bottom-line - its worth checking out if your already in the area. My advice would be to combine this trip with another activity in the area or with a visit to friends. You can overnight at Point Mugu and head out to the Channel Islands in the morning, go hiking in the hills or head to the beach.

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