A Famously Sweet Fest at 30

The strawberry is the star in Oxnard at its annual May festival.

California Strawberry Festival

FRUIT AMBASSADOR: There are certain members of the produce section that one rarely sees on billboards and advertisements. The gooseberry? Nope, it doesn't get a lot of love (and it could be mistaken for a grape). Parsley? Maybe, maybe, but, again, some might think that they're look at cilantro. But the strawberry? There's not mistaking it. You could take an illustration of the famous fruit and remove the red and remove the seeds and remove the leafy green top and its distinctive shape -- it's kind of triangular, right? That's the word we'll go with -- would still convey it to be a strawberry. That's why it is truly one of our state's fruit ambassadors. We don't make such a claim lightly, given that our state pretty much grows everything, and grows everything well. But you can't see an old-timey fruit box label or travel poster featuring fruit without seeing a certain seedy superstar. (Okay, citrus, you're a Golden State ambassador, too.) And the largest yearly party for the strawberry, the one with "California" in its very name? It happens in Oxnard every May.

MAY 18 AND 19, IN FACT: That's the weekend of the California Strawberry Festival, which turns 30 this year. Now that it is officially an adult, at least according to some sociology textbooks that say adulthood begins at age 30, you'd think it might stop with the messy tart throwing and pie-eating contests. Au contraire -- those are the crowd favorites, and they're not goin' nowhere. Other contests, like one for strawberry hats -- you've made several, right? -- are on the schedule. And music, kid stuff, and more strawberry-type eating options. A ticket is twelve bucks, but you'll totally buy one, right? How often do you get an audience with California's own fruit ambassador?

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