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1.5 Million Strawberries Are Eaten At This California Festival Over Just 2 Days 🤯

Strawberry nachos, strawberry pizza and strawberry beer?

Come on now. 

You must be curious! 

Well, you can find all of these things and A LOT more at one of the biggest strawberry festivals in the US.

And you can find it in California.

Today we’ll reveal what this event is and everything you need to know before going.

All useful links are at the end of the post.

What Is It?

The California Strawberry Festival is one of the top food festivals in the country, celebrating the beginning of the strawberry season with a bang.

It’s now been going strong since 1984 and now it gets over 50,000 visitors every year when it takes place in May.

If you ever get the chance you NEED to give it a visit. 

Held annually in Ventura County, California, this two-day event draws crowds from all over with its promise of fun, food, and festivity. 

Whether you’re a strawberry lover or just in it for the lively atmosphere, the festival offers a glimpse into the community spirit of the local area.

And it’s no surprise that a strawberry festival is held here. 

After all, this area is one of the nation’s biggest strawberry producers.

strawberry fields (1)

The Oxnard area in Ventura County is actually the biggest producer of strawberries in California and it supplies about one-third of California’s annual strawberry volume. 

It’s a place to celebrate the local harvest, indulge in creative strawberry-infused treats, and enjoy entertainment that spans music, art, and cultural performances.

When Is It?

Mark your calendars! 

The California Strawberry Festival typically takes place over a weekend in May, just in time to celebrate the peak of strawberry season. 

In 2024 it’s taking place on May 18 & 19 so keep the weekend free!

The festival runs from 10 AM to 7:30 PM on Saturday and from 10 AM to 6:30 PM on Sunday, giving you plenty of time to explore all the fruity fun. 

Remember, it’s only once a year, and it’s a fabulous opportunity to kick off your summer with a blast of berry goodness!

Where Is It?

The California Strawberry Festival takes place in Ventura County every year. 

From 1991 to 2019, it used to take place in Strawberry Meadows of College Park in Oxnard next to Oxnard College, but now it has moved.

The current location for the Strawberry Festival in 2024 is the Ventura County Fairgrounds, right across the street from Ventura Station.

Address: Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA 93001

Open directions on Google Maps

ventura county  fairgrounds google maps graphic
Google Maps

Getting There By Car

Ventura is easily accessible by car by using the 101, situated about 70-90 minutes drive from downtown LA and about 30 minutes drive from Santa Barbara. 

This central location makes it a convenient destination whether you’re coming from within California or traveling from further away.

Park ‘n’ Ride: Strawberry Express Shuttle

There’s a free shuttle service that you can take to save on the $20 parking fees on-site. 

Here are the shuttle locations:

  1. San Buenaventura State Beach – Parking Lot at 901 San Pedro Street, Ventura
  2. Ventura County Government Center – 800 South Victoria Avenue, Parking Lot F on the Hill Street side
  3. Pacific View Mall – 3301 E. Main Street, Ventura, Parking and pickup behind the vacant Sears building
  4. Oxnard High School – 3400 W Gonzales Rd, Oxnard
  5. De Anza DATA Middle School – 2060 Cameron Street, Ventura
  6. Ventura City Hall – 501 Poli St, Ventura, CA 93001

The image below should give you a rough guideline of where the shuttle stops are if you want to figure out which would be most convenient for you.

shuttle stops

Amtrak

If you make your way on the Pacific Surfliner you’ll be dropped off at Ventura station which is basically opposite the entrance of the festival. 

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Train

This could be a particularly good option for families because there’s a ‘kids ride free’ promotion for the festival. 

The Strawberry Festival has partnered with the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to offer one free child per full-fare adult ticket. 

More information about the terms can be found on the website (linked at the end of the post).

Why You CANNOT Miss It

Think about this…

Where else can you watch a chef whip up a strawberry pizza, compete in a strawberry pie-eating contest, and then dance off the calories to some great live music? 

The California Strawberry Festival isn’t just about eating strawberries; it’s a full-on celebration of community and culture. 

Every year, the festival ramps up its game with more activities, more food, and more fun! 

It’s your perfect chance to make unforgettable memories with friends and family, snapping photos with giant strawberries, or meeting the people who grow your favorite berries. 

And every strawberry eaten is actually helping out a bunch of local non profits too!

Missing this would mean missing out on the heart of California’s vibrant agricultural community.

What Can You Do Here?

At the California Strawberry Festival, your day will be jam-packed with excitement. 

Let’s give you a quick overview of what’s on offer here.

Arts and Crafts

You’ll have around 200 artists and crafters showing off their works at the strawberry festivals. 

You can expect to see:

  • Paintings 
  • Sculptures
  • Ceramics
  • Textiles
  • Jewelry
  • Photography 
  • & more!

FOOD 🍓 😋

Now THIS is the main event! 

There are over 50 food booths to choose from and the treats on offer will blow your mind. 

Here are just a few of the things you could taste at the strawberry festival:

  • Strawberry nachos
  • Strawberry pizza
  • Strawberry tamales
  • Strawberry popcorn
  • Strawberry beer
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries (obviously!)
  • Deep fried strawberries

There really seems to be no rules apart from trying to include strawberries wherever possible!

Of course, you’ll be able to get plenty of normal non-strawberry-infused food too. 

Entertainment

If you’re tired of walking around, you can soak in the entertainment on offer.

Check out the live bands, with performances ranging from rock to jazz, providing the perfect soundtrack for your strawberry escapades.

From shows for kids to tribute bands for classic bands, everyone will have something they can enjoy. 

And don’t miss the berry baby fashion parade for a cuteness overload! 

There are also plenty of games, rides and contests to keep you occupied too.

If you’re feeling like you’ve not had enough strawberries you might want to take part in a strawberry pie eating contest. 

And if you just want to let off some steam, then the strawberry tart toss will hit just the spot. 

The Ninja Nation Obstacle Course is a big hit too.

Strawberryland Midway & Food Court

If all of that wasn’t enough you have the festival midway with a bunch of carnival rides that you can enjoy.

There’s also the Festival Food Court where you’ll be able to stuff your face with decadent food.

Things To Do Nearby

After you’ve had your fill of strawberry delights, don’t think the fun has to stop there! 

Ventura is a gem on California’s coast and so is Oxnard right next to it.

Just a short drive away, you can relax and catch a sunset at Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard where you might spot some sea lions too!  

If you’re into history, then the nearby Channel Islands Maritime Museum provides a fascinating look at maritime art and ship models. 

Nature lovers will want to hop on a boat tour to the Channel Islands National Park, one of the best destinations in California to see wildlife. 

Inspiration Point view on Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park California

In fact, Channel Islands National Park is sometimes dubbed the ‘Galapagos of North America’ because of its biodiversity.

And if you’re still in the mood for more food, local restaurants serve up everything from fresh seafood to authentic Mexican dishes. 

Plan Your Visit: Tips and Tricks

Planning your visit to the California Strawberry Festival can make the difference between a good day and a great one! 

Let’s cover a few of these things so you can have the best experience:

  • Comfort
  • Protection
  • The pick of the bunch
  • Goodies
  • Weather

First off for comfort, wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be on your feet exploring all the sweet attractions. 

The California sun can be strong, so pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to stay cool and protected. 

Since this is a popular event, arriving early can help you avoid the biggest crowds and give you a first pick of the freshest strawberry treats. 

Bring a backpack for any goodies you might want to take home, from arts and crafts to boxes of fresh strawberries. 

Finally, check the weather before you head out—while it’s usually sunny, it’s always smart to be prepared for a surprise spring shower.

How To Get Tickets

Getting tickets to the California Strawberry Festival is easy and can be done in several convenient ways.

The simplest is to purchase them online through the festival’s official website.

Tickets are also available at the gate, but buying ahead can save you time waiting in lines. 

Children under 5 enter free, and there are discounts available for seniors and students, making this a family-friendly event. 

Here‘s the current pricing on their website at the time of writing. 

straberry festival california 2024 ticket
Ticket Info California Strawberry Festival

Who Does This Festival Help?

If you didn’t think the fun wasn’t enough then maybe this will convince you to go. 

Every year the festival helps the local community and non-profit partners. 

Here’s a list of the official non-profit partners at the time of writing:

  • 20th Century Onyx Club
  • Black American Political
  • Association of California, Inc. (BAPAC)
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Ventura County Council
  • Buena High School Music Association
  • Calvary Nexus Church
  • Camarillo Roadrunner Youth Football Inc.
  • Citizens Advisory Committee
  • Community Bible Mission
  • El Concilio
  • Inlaketch
  • JACL
  • Messiah Fellowship Center
  • National Latinos Peace Officers Association
  • Of Life Sports Ministries International
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe School
  • Oxnard Ambassadors
  • Oxnard Buddhist Temple
  • Oxnard Calvary Chapel
  • Oxnard High School Band Boosters
  • Oxnard Kiwanis Club
  • Oxnard Panthers Youth Football & Cheer League
  • Oxnard Police Activities League
  • Oxnard Police Explorers Post 9286Oxnard Police Reserves
  • Oxnard Waves Youth Soccer U16
  • Pacific Camp Family Resource, Inc.
  • Pacifica Triton Athletic Booster Club
  • Rotary Club of Oxnard
  • Rotary Club of Oxnard Sunrise
  • Santa Clara High School Athletics
  • Santa Clara High School Girls Basketball Team
  • SEIU Local 721 City of Oxnard Chapter
  • Soroptimist International of Oxnard
  • Students Securing and Achieving their Future Through Education (SSAFE)
  • The Salvation Army
  • Tri-County GLAD
  • Trinity Community Baptist Church
  • United Way of Ventura County
  • Ventura County Alumnae Chapter of DST, Inc.
  • Ventura County Chapter Blacks in Government (BIG)
  • Ventura County Parents of Murdered Children, Inc.
  • Ventura High School Wrestling Booster Club
  • Ventura Teen Challenge

Every bit of fun you have at the Strawberry Festival is also a little bit of support for these non-profits that help the community. 

Useful Links 🔗

To help you plan your visit even more smoothly, here are some useful links.

California Strawberry Festival:

Nearby Attractions:

With this information and a little planning, you’re all set for a fantastic time at the California Strawberry Festival. 

Enjoy the sweet fun, and don’t forget to try as many strawberry dishes as you can—after all, it’s not every day you get to celebrate strawberries like this!


Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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