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Festival Time

California has hundreds of festivals each year. Festivals help people celebrate where they live, what they like to do, and more!

Many festivals in California celebrate the fruits, vegetables, and other plants that grow here. The warm weather and fertile soil help Californians grow many crops. People throughout the state go to festivals to honor crops such as avocados, artichokes, garlic, grapes, lemons, and strawberries. California Indian festivals also celebrate the natural resources of the area. The Yurok Indians began the Salmon Festival more than forty years ago to honor the salmon.

A Berry Lovers' Dream!

Oxnard is located on the coast of southern California. The climate in Oxnard is mild and the soil is fertile. Many crops grow there throughout the year. Oxnard has even been nicknamed the “Lima Bean Capital” and the “Strawberry Capital.”

People in the city of Oxnard began the California Strawberry Festival in 1984. The festival is now held each year on the third weekend in May. At the festival, people eat foods made of strawberries, enter contests, play games, and watch shows.

The Strawberry Festival raises money for community groups and honors the agricultural history of the area. Some of the money raised is used for scholarships so people who work in the strawberry fields can go to college.

Take a Walk Down the Promenade

One way festival organizers hope to teach people about the crops is with the Strawberry Promenade. New in 2006, a special tent exhibit will provide information about agriculture in Ventura County in interesting and fun ways. The Strawberry Promenade is not just for adults. Children can learn about agriculture and win prizes too. Bonnie Weigel, manager of the festival, says, “Enriching the Festival with the Strawberry Promenade gets all ages into the mix.”

Volunteers are important to the Strawberry Festival. Volunteer Martha Climer, age 75, has been helping out for over 20 years. In preparation for the 2006 festival, she helped organize more than 300 volunteers. Climer explains, “I've made a lot of friends and love being around where there's other people who enjoy helping out. . . . I look forward to celebrating every year and I have quite a collection of Festival posters, hats, mugs, pins, and everything berry!”