INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED ARTIST SANDRA GILMORE WINS
32nd ANNUAL CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL POSTER CONTEST AND TAKES HOME THE $2,000 GRAND PRIZE
Famed needlepoint illustrator Sandra Gilmore’s high-flying original strawberry design soared to top honors in the 2015 California Strawberry Festival Poster Contest.The Woodland Hills native who currently resides in Carlsbad, was awarded a $2,000 grand prize and will see her original design gracing 2015 California Strawberry Festival posters, T-shirts and collectible merchandise. This is a repeat performance for the talented artist whose image of a little girl coveting a bowl of strawberries was the signature poster in 2006.
After driving around Oxnard and taking in its unique elements of vast open spaces for agriculture, the ocean and awesome sunsets, she came up with an idea that would embrace that feeling. She first sketched the image, and then brought it to life using watercolors, color pencils, and ink.
Creativity is the essence of everything Gilmore undertakes. Most of her work is in needlepoint where she creates up to 50 original designs each year for stitching on painted canvasses with the acclaimed company “Fleur de Paris.” As a powerhouse in the industry, she has more than 1,000 designs in her catalog available throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. Never idle, she also creates custom pieces for clients in oils, illustrations, website designs and cartoons.
Gilmore has attended the California Strawberry Festival at least 10 times over the past decades. She says, “I’m real excited with this win. I love this Festival – it’s like a throw back to a time we don’t have anymore. I especially enjoy exploring the hundreds of Fine Arts & Crafts booths and visiting with the artists. “
Sandra Gilmore shows off her winning poster for the 2015 California Strawberry Festival.
View our poster gallery below.
The Berry Blast Off Recipe Contest
California Strawberry Festival Annual Berry Blast Off Recipe Contest
Grand Prize Include a Resort Vacation Getaway and Chef Knife Set
If you love cooking with the berry heart shaped fruit as the main ingredient, then enter the Berry Blast Off Recipe Contest, presented by the Ventura County Star. You could be the winner who goes on vacation to celebrate! All contestants who submit a recipe will be awarded a free ticket to this year’s Festival. (limited to one person/one per family/one per residence)
UPDATE: We had a tremendous response so the chef committee had a challenging time to select only five semi-finalists:
*Brenda Wong: Strawberry Char Siu Duck Salad with Strawberry-Shoga Dressing
*Alethia Shih: Steamed Strawberry Coconut Poke Cake
*Jodi Taffel: Strawberry Vinaigrette Marinated Bacon Steak Over Warm Spinach Strawberry & Hazelnut Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette Reduction, Giner Scallion Sauce & Strawberry Caviar
*Kate Evans: Strawberry Cream Cheese Crab Rangoons with Strawberry Jalapeno Reduction
*Lea Stemmer: Tarte Flambee with Strawberries and Goat Cheese
Festival organizers are searching for the tastiest non-baking strawberry dish for the popular timed challenge that culminates Saturday, May 16th in the Festival’s Strawberry Promenade when two finalists prepare and present their recipes for judges and festival attendees in the ultimate “strawberry smack down.”
Applicants must enter a non-baking strawberry recipe with their favorite sauce, dessert, entrée, dip, drink, jam, spread, appetizer, snack, etc. – the more creative and complex the dish, the better. Submissions will be accepted until noon April 10, 2015. Five finalists will be selected to compete in a timed, iron chef-style challenge Tuesday, May 5 at 11:00am at the professional kitchen of the Courtyard by Marriott Oxnard, where they must prepare and present their strawberry dish within one hour. The judges select two finalists to continue on with VIP access in a competition for the ultimate reward at the Festival May 16th.
The grand prize winner will choose from a three-day, two night getaway vacation to Palm Springs, San Diego, Cabo San Lucas or Branson, Missouri, courtesy of Welk Resorts (airfare not included), and a Cutco studio knife set valued at more than $1,000. The runner up will receive an overnight stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Oxnard along with a complimentary dinner for two at acclaimed Tierra Sur Restaurant at Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard.
Annual Elementary School Youth Art Design Contest
Each year, the Festival reaches out to elementary schools throughout districts in Ventura and Las Virgenes to engage students — kindergarten to sixth grade — in the annual Youth Art Design Contest. Every one of the thousands of students who participate receive a Festival ticket as an appreciation for their efforts.
From an all-time record 2,017 entries, the “berry funky” design of 11-year-old Diamaya Avila from Curren Elementary in Oxnard was selected as the winner of the 32nd Annual California Strawberry Festival Youth Art Design Contest.
Festival representatives recently orchestrated a surprise pizza party and award presentation with her entire 6th grade class to celebrate the announcement. Assembly member Jacqui Irwin joined in the festivities as Avila received a $100 gift certificate (teacher, Andrea Stetler, was awarded a $50 gift certificate) and the honor of having her design showcased before a crowd of thousands at the California Strawberry Festival May 16 and 17.
Avila’s winning masterpiece features a strawberry hipster sporting sunglasses and a berry boom box. To create the design, Avila used her creative imagination and positive outlook for the concept, and went to task with markers and crayons. The art project encouraged the students to use their creativity to express the Festival’s atmosphere and what the event means to the community. “She loves art and is always sketching, so I’m very happy that her artistic abilities were recognized,” says proud teacher Stetler.
Left to right: Principal Kelly Castillo, Daisy Tatum of the CA Strawberry Festival, winner Diamaya Avila, and her teacher Andrea Stetler (right)