Channel Islands Harbor : 2 Days of Activities at Strawberry Festival

The third annual California Strawberry Festival will be celebrated April 19 and 20 at the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, with a gala opening party set for April 18.

Planning the weekend of activities are The J. M. Smucker Co., a producer of preserves, jams and jellies and the major sponsor of the festival, the city's Special Events Planning Committee headed by Mayor Nao Takasugi, and festival committee co-chairmen Dr. Tsujio Kato and Supervisor John Flynn.

The festival events begin with a strawberry pancake breakfast from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Entertainment--including musicians, puppeteers, mimes, jugglers, demonstrations and talks, a strawberry agricultural display, arts and crafts and a wine festival--has been scheduled throughout the remainder of the day. Admission to the festival is free.

A children's area will be provided with Strawberry Shortcake and her berry friends providing entertainment, Shortcake videos and coloring contests. Local chefs and festival caterers will tempt fairgoers with a menu of delicious specialties, ranging from Polish sausage, barbecued ribs and nachos to hand-dipped ice cream bars, strawberry frappes and elephant ears.

Festival contests include a waiters' race with waiters and waitresses attempting to balance full glasses of strawberry wine and a wine bottle on a tray without taking a spill, and a strawberry blond contest open to everyone.

The official festival ceremony will begin at noon. A strawberry pie-eating contest is scheduled from 2 to 2:30 p.m., and a tea dance featuring music of the '30s is set for 3 to 6 p.m., all at the Strawberry Stage.

On Sunday, a 10K run and a two-mile fun run will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. Entry fee is $4 (or $9 for a long-sleeve T-shirt), if runners register before April 11. Last-minute entries will be $6 (or $11). Races are open to all ages, and preregistration is at the Community Center. Sunday's schedule of activities is the same as Saturday's, but the official ceremony and tea dance will not be repeated.

Information: Oxnard Special Events Office, (805) 984-4715.

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