Pre Events



The Berry Blast Off Recipe Contest

Presented by the Ventura County Star




Congratulations to our two finalists who will be competing for the grand prize Saturday, May 17th at 12:30pm in the Strawberry Promenade.

*Spicy Strawberry Five Spice Chicken Wings Appetizer by Linda Quan of Los Angeles

*Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp, Peppered Glazed Pecans and Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette by Kate Evans of Oxnard

This year’s prize for the annual “Berry Blast Off” Recipe Contest, presented by the Ventura County Star  includes a three-day, two night stay for two people at a Welk Resort in San Diego, Palm Springs, Cabo San Lucas, or Branson, Missouri. (airfare not included) and a Cutco studio knife set valued at close to $500.

Anyone who submitted an entry for consideration received a complimentary ticket to the 2014 California Strawberry Festival (limited to one person/one per family/one per residence).

Open to any type of non-baking strawberry recipe – sauce, dessert, entrée, dip, drink, jam, spread, appetizer, snack, and more. The more creative, the better. 

Larissa Nelson of Fillmore was determined the winner of last year’s “Strawberry Smack Down” with her delicious Oxnard Strawberry Coconut No-Bake Tiramisu.

View/download previous winner recipes: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


Muralist Traci Adams of Simi Valley wins 2014 Official Poster Contest and takes home $2,000 cash prize



Muralist Traci Adams specializes in larger than life creations, but she was glad her “berry” original artwork was determined to be the perfect fit to win this year’s 2014 California Strawberry Festival Poster Contest.

The Simi Valley resident was awarded a $2,000 grand prize and VIP tickets to the 31st annual celebration in Oxnard where her “Strawberry Party Boat” themed art will adorn souvenir posters, T-shirts and various collectible merchandise.

The festive winning creation is an illustration done with acrylic paint and depicts a group of smiling and waving strawberries afloat in a makeshift “berry carton” boat sailing in Oxnard’s Channel Island Harbor with waves cresting in the foreground.

Adams had a unique approach to her captivating painting. “I asked myself what the strawberries would be doing to celebrate their special day,” says the artist who has been an annual Festival attendee since its infancy before it moved from the harbor to its current location at Strawberry Meadows of College Park. “The Festival is all about fun, so I wanted the feeling of the celebration to be reflected in the personality of the berries,” she said.

“It feels awesome to have my art picked as the favorite,” says Adams. “I’m just happy that I can now share it with thousands of people who can get enjoyment from it.”

Annual Elementary School Youth Art Design Contest

From an all-time record of 1,800 entries, the “berrilious” design of 11-year-old Itzel Gonzalez from Cesar Chavez Elementary in Oxnard was selected as the winner of the 31st Annual California Strawberry Festival Youth Art Design Contest.

Festival representatives orchestrated a pizza party and award presentation with her entire 6th grade class to celebrate the announcement. Gonzalez received a $100 gift certificate (teacher, Maricruz Perez, was awarded a $50 gift certificate). and the honor of having her design showcased before a crowd of thousands in the Community Connections exhibit at the California Strawberry Festival May 17th and 18th. Every one of the thousands of students from school districts throughout Ventura County — kindergarten to sixth grade — who participated in the contest, rerceived a Festival ticket as an appreciation for their efforts.

Gonzalez’s winning masterpiece features a delicious ruby-red strawberry wearing a smiling face. To create the design, Gonzalez used her creative imagination and positive outlook for the concept, and went to task with colored pencils and crayons. A departure from classroom curriculum focusing more on textbook criteria, the art project encouraged the students to use their creativity to express the Festival’s atmosphere and what the event means to the community. “Itzel has already won an award in math and now she can add artistic talents to her list of accomplishments,” says proud teacher Perez. Her design will also be featured on youth T-shirts available for purchase at the Festival.


Left to right: Teacher Mrs. Perez, Itzel Gonzalez, Festival board member Daisy Tatum