OXNARD, Calif. — After a three-year hiatus due to challenges brought on by the pandemic, the 2023 California Strawberry Festival will take place May 20-21. For the first time ever, the event will be held at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
“We are thrilled to relaunch the California Strawberry Festival in 2023 at the Fairgrounds,” says Dean Kato, Chairman of the California Strawberry Festival Board of Directors. “We realized that the event had outgrown the available space at our longtime venue, Oxnard’s College Park. It’s our ‘comeback’ year – and we want to come out bigger and better than ever.”
This isn’t the first time the Festival has outgrown a location, and the Fairgrounds venue was considered when the California Strawberry Festival moved from Channel Islands Harbor to College Park in 1991.
“Although the Festival has historically taken place in Oxnard, it belongs to all of Ventura County,” says Kato.
The beachside location provides iconic views, and Ventura offers up a vibrant downtown just a few blocks away, with hotels, restaurants, and nightlife. Guests will appreciate that the Fairgrounds is close to the 101 freeway and has onsite parking, and the Festival will continue to host free shuttle services from many convenient locations.
Ventura’s Amtrak station is situated adjacent to the Fairgrounds, so it’s easier than ever to take the train directly to the Festival. Another benefit is that buildings, lighting, and restrooms are built-in amenities at the rain-or-shine venue.
“The Ventura County Fairgrounds and Event Center was built with the space and structural elements to accommodate large festivals,” says Fairgrounds CEO Stacy Rianda. “We’re looking forward to hosting the California Strawberry Festival.”
The California Strawberry Festival is known in Ventura County as the kick-off to summertime, and tens of thousands of festivalgoers attend the celebration each year. Local non-profit organizations, food vendors, artists and crafters, entertainers, sponsors and hundreds of volunteers are instrumental to its success.
The all-volunteer board is ready for the opportunity to raise the bar in 2023.
“We’ve already been hard at work on the re-launch,” says Kato. “Change is exciting. But of course, some things will stay the same – like the always-popular $5 build-your-own strawberry shortcake, fresh-picked local strawberries, and really nice arts and crafts. We’re anticipating an outstanding Festival in 2023.”
–California Strawberry Festival