VENTURA, CA – The 38th Annual California Strawberry Festival is currently happening Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19, at the Ventura County Fairgrounds (10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura, CA 93001). Strawberry lovers looking for tasty treats in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere will find plenty of strawberry-themed food and beverages, live entertainment, carnival rides and other activities. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Over 50 food and beverage vendors will serve such treats as chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry-topped funnel cakes, strawberry nachos, deep-fried strawberries, berry kabobs, strawberry tacos, smoothies and strawberry beer. Festival Goers can visit the Strawberry Shortcake Experience —complete with shortcake, strawberries and whipped cream—to build their own berry desserts for $5.

Twenty-two bands offering reggae, Latin, rock, country, and R&B music will perform on two stages. Strawberryland for Kids, an area especially for kids, has its own Family Fun Stage with nonstop music, magic and puppet shows. It is the site of the Berry Baby Fashion Show (both days), where kids from infants to age four can show off their strawberry-themed costumes.

There is also a Ninja Nation obstacle course for all ages. Always popular are the 150 artisans who come to the two-day event from throughout the West to showcase their original works including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, children’s toys, accessories, photography, textiles, outdoor furniture, jewelry and specialty foods. “You’ll have the opportunity to talk to the artisans and learn about their creations. It’s a fun experience for all,” says Dana Hale-Mounier, director of Pacific Fine Arts Festivals and coordinator of the festival’s arts and craft booths.

An estimated 1.5 million strawberries will be consumed over the two-day festival. Strawberries are the number one crop in Ventura County and those grown in the Oxnard Plain are considered by many to be the best-tasting and juiciest in the world. Ventura County strawberry growers will be selling fresh-picked, vine-ripened strawberries at the festival in 3-packs, half trays and full trays.

The California Strawberry Festival is a nonprofit organization run by an all-volunteer board. Through the years, participating nonprofit organizations have raised over $5 million. General admission is $15, active military with ID and family and seniors 62 and over, $10, youth ages 5 to 12, $8, and children 4 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at or upon entry to the festival. A limited amount of parking is available onsite for $20 per vehicle.

Festival-goers are encouraged to use the free shuttles, which will run every 15 minutes to the festival from nearby locations in Oxnard and Ventura. Metrolink offers a $10 day pass, good for unlimited rides on the day of purchase, and up to three kids ages 17 and under ride free with each adult fare. The station is located next to the fairgrounds.

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BACKGROUND: The festival pays tribute to California’s billion-dollar strawberry industry. Ventura County, with its unique coastal environment of ocean exposure and year-round moderate temperatures, is ideal for the luscious fruit. The festival premiered in 1984 at Channel Islands Harbor. After eight years, the increasingly popular event outgrew its original site, moving in 1992 to Strawberry Meadows at College Park. In 2023, the festival moved to the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

POSITIVE IMPACT: The International Festival & Events Association and the Library of Congress have recognized the California Strawberry Festival for its extensive community programs benefiting education, the arts and youth. The Association’s research estimates the festival’s economic impact on the community at approximately $7.5 million for the two-day event.

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