Tom BurfieldGrower Glen Hasegawa (center), owner of Isla Vista Farms, Oxnard, Calif., shows some of his strawberries to a visitor and her son at the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard May 20. Carolyn O’Donnell (right), communications director for the California Strawberry Commission, also was on hand to answer questions. OXNARD, Calif. — More than 50,000 people turned out for the California Strawberry Festival May 19 and 20.
The 50-acre festival featured live musical entertainment on two stages, more than 40 food booths and more than 250 fine-arts and crafts booths
The event, which has been held annually for 29 years, has helped raise more than $3.5 million for more than 20 Southern California nonprofit organizations over the years and has helped call attention to the strawberry industry.
Representatives from the California Strawberry Commission, including communications director Carolyn O’Donnell, were on hand to answer visitors’ questions about the berries.
“People are interested in hearing about where their food comes from, who grows their food, (and) how they grow their food,” she said.
Visitors munched on everything from strawberry pizza to strawberry nachos and even imbibed strawberry beer and strawberry champagne.
Among those participating in the event were Adrien Nieto of the Fox TV show “MasterChef” and Bruce Hensel, chief health, medical and science editor for TV station NBC4 in Los Angeles.
Hensel talked about the nutrition benefits of strawberries.
Daisy Tatum, executive director, said the festival started in 1985, when the Oxnard area was producing its first strawberries, as a way to call attention to the town.