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Strawberry Festival in Oxnard (May 20, 21) ... is it worth going?

i
ipse dixit May 12, 2006 12:38 AM

Curious to hear some feedback on this event ... any thoughts?

Thinking about going. Thanks.

Link: http://www.strawberry-fest.org/

  1. notmartha May 20, 2008 08:51 PM

    Hum, the responses here seems kind of harsh. It's not a bad festival as long as you don't expect anything more than the normal food vendor trucks that frequent the County Fairs and such. It's not Taste of LA, or the Gilroy Garlic festival up north.

    I liked some of the craft and kitchen stuff related stalls at the arts section. A few years back when we went I picked up a corian cutting board that I really liked and wished I got more of.

    Anyway, I was contemplating this year, but as we are heading up to Santa Barbara area (oh Hitching Post here I come) in a week we decided to skip.

    BTW, in years past we just pack our car in the Camarillo Outlet area and shuttle in. It's no biggie and kills 2 birds with one stone - shopping and getting fried artichoke hearts. The fair ground is mostly on dirt lot, so it is awfully dusty - don't go there in sandals or shoes that you care about.

    4 Replies
    1. re: notmartha
      b
      bulavinaka May 20, 2008 09:24 PM

      I'll agree with you on the arts&crafts boothes - some great finds there. The only redeeming factor for us was that we found a really nice couple from up north that did great ceramics, and it was their last time doing this festival. We kept in touch, asked them if they could do some things for our remodel and they did a super job...

      1. re: bulavinaka
        r
        Rosiepigs May 12, 2009 11:47 AM

        Did anyone go to the Strawberry Festival last year after all? Was it worth, or dtill dusty and crappy as in years past. Was thinking of going, but I don't need arts and crafts and would be annoyed by mediocre strawberries and strawberry-related food.

        1. re: Rosiepigs
          burumun May 12, 2009 01:25 PM

          I did go last year, and had a good time. But yes, they are vendor foods, but I love to get my "festival food" (corn on the cob, turkey leg, funnel cake, etc)

          I bought 2 pints of delicious, juicy strawberries home.

          Anyway, here's my full report from last year:
          http://gourmettravel.blogspot.com/2008/05/strawberry-fest-2008.html

          --burumun
          http://gourmetpigs.net

          1. re: burumun
            SIMIHOUND May 13, 2009 08:31 AM

            Stay home if you hate crowds. If you are curious and want to see what it's all about it then go. One big plus is that the festival organizers have tried to make transportation convenient. I like to head near the fest and see what the outside strawberry vendors have to offer. I think the best of the best fruits are offered then.

    2. kelvlam Feb 7, 2008 11:23 AM

      Dang... from all the hounder's bashing about it. Now I'm having a 2nd thought about giving it a try this year.. cuz it's suppose to be their 25th Anniversary festival, and I was originally thinking it'll be a fun event to bring my fellowship group, riding the Amtrak to get to Oxnard and enjoy an afternoon there.

      hmmmmmmmm

      6 Replies
      1. re: kelvlam
        d
        DaDebster May 16, 2008 09:52 PM

        omg! I've been wanting to go for years. It's the only fruit my son would eat since he was little and he's 14 now! I finally decided to go tomorrow. But I think we'll pass after reading these reviews. Thanks to Chowhound we'll save our gas and avoid the aggravation. We'll find something else to do. haha

        1. re: DaDebster
          b
          bulavinaka May 17, 2008 06:50 AM

          I was pretty excited to go for similar reasons - our kids down strawbs like hyenas chomping down zebra carcasses... My opinion above is based only one visiting this event once, but I'll never go back again. I ripped the committee in a lengthy detailed letter (I think four pages) on a play-by-play of our experience there, particularly about the "last days before the fall of Saigon" scenario with the shuttle bus fiasco. They were very apologetic and promised that they were working out issues that I mentioned and offered me a bunch of free passes for the next year's festival. I was too angry to be nice and ripped them again for having the audacity to offer more passes. If I remember, I retorted with something like, "I'll pass on your offer of more passes - that would be like getting hit in the head several times by you with a sledge hammer, complaining to you about it, you apologizing, and trying to mend things by offering to hit me in the head several more times next year with the same sledge hammer with new paint on it..."

          I think there are strawberry festivals in OC and Santa Maria, but I would advise that if any issues like shuttle buses are involved, that's a huge tip-off that things are out of hand already...

          1. re: bulavinaka
            p
            pharmnerd May 19, 2008 06:48 AM

            That's some funny *s*. Thought about going this year for a split second this year (wouldve taken Metrolink/Amtrak). Now am definitely gonna pass in the future. Will just stick with our local famer's market (Cerritos on Sat), of which some vendors are from the Oxnard/Ventura area anyway.

            1. re: pharmnerd
              b
              bulavinaka May 19, 2008 07:36 AM

              I'm not sure where the Metrolink drops you off relative to the event, but assuming you would be bypassing the chaos at the shuttle areas, then it might not be so bad; in fact, if you base it on my horrid experience being among the worst - I couldn't imagine much worse except for maybe if you threw in getting mugged or having severe bouts of food poisoning - then anything less might leave you with a huge sigh of relief. The proceeds to this and most festivals go to very worthy causes. You'll be standing there saying, "phew - that wasn't so bad - 12 bucks to get in, over 50 bucks for a crappy lunch for four, a small plate of mediocre Von's-quality strawberries buried in tons of glop for the price of a really nice dessert at a decent restaurant, good to great live music, some pretty cool arts and crafts booths, and plenty of sweaty people kicking up dust. And at least they had tons of porta-potties to hide the drunks in! Hey, look at the motorcops posing on their bikes with their nice shiny boots! Hey mister officers - don't mind the mobs running along side and banging the sides of the moving buses pulling up to the shuttle area - I'm gliding home on the Metro! See ya suckers!

              1. re: pharmnerd
                kelvlam May 20, 2008 12:36 PM

                I think... it's suppose to be an Amtrak. I checked on Amtrak site, even with AAA's discount, it's still $30+ per head... it's an insane premium for this round trip. If 1 car with 4 passengers carpooling... I really doubt we will need to pay $120 for a trip even you come all the way from SD to Oxnards :-s

            2. re: DaDebster
              kelvlam May 20, 2008 12:38 PM

              I didn't go this year... and I'm glad. Cuz at triple-digits weather, I don't I will be able to enjoy any bit of it.

              Instead I went to the Umaimono Fair in Mitsuwa Torrance ...

              so I'm curious any hounder actually went this year and had a pleasant experience can shed some light? :-)

          2. Local May 3, 2007 07:44 AM

            As an alternative, if you're really needing a festival-fix, head to Simi Valley for crawfish etouffee and jambalaya for the annual Cajun/Zydeco fest the following weekend (May 27-28)... some good really good (and really BAD) food, and wonderfully infectious (and I think much better) music! laissez les bon temps roulee!

            www.simicajun.org

            1 Reply
            1. re: Local
              h
              holybull May 3, 2007 02:34 PM

              LOL

              I went to this about 3 years ago after my temporary moment of insanity when i decided to move to Thousand Oaks.

              Words can't describe how much of a waste of time it was (only second to my 2 years in Thousand Oaks)

            2. s
              shebop May 2, 2007 11:50 PM

              I'll be attending for the 4th or 5th year in a row....
              Never had a traffic problem - never had a crowd problem - the only line
              all years has been for the funnel cakes.
              The strawberry pizza, along with MANY other strawberry items have been very enjoyable.
              The arts and crafts are better than any fair I've been to.
              Oxnard is close enough to the coast so that it has never been too hot.
              Decide for yourself!
              I've taken PCH every year and made it in an hour - parking has always been a breeze too,just drive up to the gate - there are always empty spaces.
              Also, I never go early, I get there about 2:00.

              1. Kitchen Queen May 2, 2007 11:20 PM

                All really too bad -I agree w/posters. Not worth the money, time and gas (especially). Years back the festival was free and a basket of berries could be had for 1.50$ -eh no more! I wouldn't even go in that direction unless you're into torture. The traffic alone will kill ya.

                1. sugarpie May 2, 2007 11:11 PM

                  Not worth it. I agree with snackish and everyone else. They did not use strawberries in a creative way at all. Just lots of refried foods. They had "strawberry wine" it was that same brand you can get at ralphs for $4.99. Except they sold the cup of it for 4 buck. A total ripoff. My local farmers market sell some mighty fine strawberries. It's the one on Purde and Santa Monica BLVD in West LA. Good prices too.

                  1. CookieEater May 2, 2007 05:26 PM

                    I agree with most people here. The strawberries they use to make all the strawberry-themed junk food are not likely to be sweet. So it's not good if you're looking for good strawberries, but if you're just looking to eat lots of junk food I guess this would work.
                    But you don't necessarily need to pay so much or drive so far to eat a bunch of junk food.

                    1. b
                      bulavinaka May 1, 2007 08:46 PM

                      This festival is a great place to go...

                      - It's really crowded.

                      - Parking is a nightmare - shuttles from the parking lots to the festival are fine, Going
                      back is another story - the frantic despair in peoples' psyches are like the last days
                      before the fall of Saigon. Adults had no regard for children - our kids almost got
                      trampled had I not embraced them and put my shoulders down into the crowd and
                      started knocking down people who were about to run over my kids as they ran toward the shuttle buses that were pulling up. The Explorer scouts and Police just stood there and watched.

                      - It's hot and dusty, and there is little cover.

                      - It's really crowded.

                      - Most food and drink items are expensive relative to what you're getting both in terms
                      of quality and quantity.

                      - It's really crowded.

                      - In general, the strawberries at the festival are no better than what you'd buy at the
                      supermarkets, and they charge a premium for the strawberry desserts, as they know that everyone is coming here for them.

                      - It's really crowded.

                      - The stage area where the bands were playing music had a fair amount of drunk
                      adults that were pretty obnoxious and again - had no regard for the presence of
                      children.

                      - It's really crowded.

                      - Some interesting vendors at the boothes, but all in all, it's way too crowded to enjoy.

                      One might be better off going to LAX, park in one of the outlying lots, jump on a shuttle, and start throwing twenties out the bus window while yelling, "isn't this great - we're having so much fun!"

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        Snackish May 1, 2007 09:41 PM

                        Hilarious. And right on.

                        1. re: Snackish
                          b
                          bulavinaka May 1, 2007 09:48 PM

                          It wasn't meant to be funny... ok, a little humor... Did I mention that it's really crowded? =}

                      2. h
                        holybull May 1, 2007 03:35 PM

                        If you go, go early.

                        Most of the festival is on a dirt lot. By the middle of the day, it's just a big dust bowl.

                        A minute after i got my Strawberry funnel cake, the whipped cream was covered with dirt.

                        1. b
                          bite bite May 1, 2007 03:32 PM

                          Went a couple years back. On the way to SB and saw a small sign on the side of the road so pulled over for the sake of adventure. Was expecting a small country fair type thing and was shocked at how HUGE it was -- couple of bands, lots of food stalls, massive (kitchy) craft-fare, lots of strawberry stuff. The strawberries were probably the best I've ever eaten and got a chance to swig some strawberry beer which was actually kind of good in a cream soda say. Lots of people there but the space was so big it didn't seem overly crowded. Pretty fun -- but not sure about as a destination in itself. But built into a trip to Ohai or SB thinks it's a fun break along the way...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bite bite
                            d
                            Displaced California Foodie May 1, 2007 03:37 PM

                            Go to the Farmer's Market in Downtown Ventura on Saturday AM one block south of Main Street..the best strawberries can be found there--each one picture perfect. PLUS THEY ARE CERTIFIED ORGANIC!!! Along with everything else at the market.
                            Or drive to Ojai and go to Boccalli's restaurant for their strawberry shortcake --the very best around...it's out of this world. (The reason why the Oxnard Strawberry festival is crowded is because there is nothing else to do in Oxnard...so everyone who lives there goes to it!

                          2. rednyellow May 1, 2007 03:27 PM

                            It was LAME a couple of years ago. Only went the one time

                            1. l
                              LisaStitch May 1, 2007 03:20 PM

                              Did anyone go last year? Was it still really crowded and not worth it?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: LisaStitch
                                notmartha May 1, 2007 03:34 PM

                                Not last year, but went a few times a few years back.

                                Not worth it for the food alone. The fair food type of selection is better at LA County Fair. It's nothing like the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

                                The craft selection seems to get bigger and bigger each year, so if you are into those kind of merchandise... Plus like someone suggested - if you are going to go to the Camarillo outlet it's worth a slight detour - park there and take the shuttle.

                              2. d
                                dEe May 19, 2006 08:49 PM

                                Depends on you...You got absolutely nothing to do in your city and you like strawberries, then you go. If you're an out-of-towner and decide to go, try using a different route other than using the 101 freeway--101 gets too crazy just for strawberries on festival days. Look in to using 126 west or 118 west, and once you hit rural area you know your close. If you take 101, save yourself from parking frustration, park at the Camarillo Outlets and take a free shuttle. This way if the festival is a bomb you can shop around the Outlets.

                                I'm a local and I'll go if there's nothing to do in Oxnard, (sooo...I go everytime =) Get the funnel cake from Buena High, their cake is the best. I try to eat every strawberry dish, BUT what I miss the most is the strawberry nachos! WHY DON'T THEY HAVE THE NACHOS ANYMORE!!!!

                                Note: Strawberries are gross, tiny, bitter, and expensive at all supermarkets, especially in LA. Rural Oxnard and Camarillo kiosks off the side of the roads are the best. Dark, plump, and sweet!

                                Link: http://www.strawberry-fest.org/information/information-shuttle.html

                                Image: http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h11...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dEe
                                  s
                                  shebop May 25, 2006 03:40 AM

                                  The strawberry nachos were back this year - along with something I had not seen before - strawberry flan!!!

                                2. s
                                  stuartontour May 14, 2006 03:13 PM

                                  Don't waste your time. The traffic on the 101 is HORRIBLE, and it's mostly the same ethnic food vendors that can be found at any fair or carnival. If you want great strawberries, just drive up towards Oxnard before or after the festival.

                                  What a bad thai food stand has to do with strawberries is beyond me. I'm still upset about sitting in traffic, stopped, for 2 hours just to get to this lame festival.

                                  1. a
                                    Adsvino May 12, 2006 05:39 PM

                                    This really sucks!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Adsvino
                                      s
                                      shebop May 14, 2006 12:59 PM

                                      I love it!
                                      Favorites include strawberry pizza,strawberry shortcake,strawberry covered funnel cake,etc......
                                      Parking has been easier than most events of this type - just drive past all the parked cars to where you see people entering - there are always open spots!
                                      There are tons of arts/crafts for sale as well as many different types of food.
                                      The only crazy-long line is for the funnel cakes.
                                      Everyone has an opinion - I have enjoyed this for the past 3 years!

                                    2. o
                                      Ollie May 12, 2006 03:29 PM

                                      Went about 5 years ago, sucked then, friends went last year, sucked then, I doubt it'll be any better now! Let me know how it goes if U go.

                                      1. j
                                        JBC May 12, 2006 11:56 AM

                                        As exciting and culturally stimulating as the Armadillo Festival in Mobile, Alabama.

                                        1. m
                                          Macy May 12, 2006 11:31 AM

                                          Don't waste your time or GAS. The other posters are absolutely right. Plus the crowds and terrible parking really make it a nightmare.

                                          1. l
                                            lipps May 12, 2006 02:45 AM

                                            Quite possibly the lamest festival I've ever attended. Husband and I still make fun of it. Hardly anything strawberry going on there - just a few vendors selling boxes that look worse than the stuff you can get at any farmer's market in LA.

                                            1. s
                                              Snackish May 12, 2006 12:57 AM

                                              Not really worth it. Lots of strawberry and canned whipped cream on a base kinds of things, deep fried twinkies, that sort of nonsense. Beer with a strawberry in it. Feh.

                                              Instead of wasting your time and money on that, find a Farmer's Market with Harry's Berries, spend the $4 a basket for a few luscious Gaviotas or Seascapes and have a small, delicious strawberry feast.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Snackish
                                                d
                                                Dave Gee May 12, 2006 05:00 PM

                                                GO GO GO. I say GO and you want to know why? Because all the best strawberries are being sold OUTSIDE the festival on the streets along the way to the festival. You will find the best strawberries of the season at rock bottom prices because so many vendors are competing for business.

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