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Oxnard Festival Expects 80,000

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Visitors to the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard have already reserved every hotel room in the city and are expected to generate more than $1.8 million this weekend, according to the Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Robert Varley, executive director of the bureau, said the festival is expected to attract about 80,000 people, 48,000 of whom will be out-of-town visitors. Last year, the festival attracted about 60,000 people.

The city has more than 1,000 hotel rooms, which have already been reserved for the festival, he said.

For the last three weeks, the bureau has received a daily average of 45 phone calls from out-of-towners, he said. Most of the callers ask for directions to the festival and about special hotel packages, Varley said.

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Transportation to the festival, which will be held at Channel Islands Harbor, will include shuttle buses from the festival’s main parking locations at Oxnard College, the Ventura County Government Center and the naval base at Port Hueneme.

Three transportation boats will run regularly from the Casa Serina Hotel at Peninsula Park.

During the annual two-day event, traffic will be blocked off at Harbor Boulevard from Costa de Oro to Victoria Avenue.

The festival will kick off Saturday with 2- and 10-kilometer races at 8 a.m., starting at the naval base. At 11 a.m. on the Strawberry Stage, local beauties will vie for the titles of “Outstanding Strawberry Blonde,” “Junior Strawberry Blonde” and “Teen Strawberry Blonde.”

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In addition to the numerous musical groups appearing, more than 175 artists from six states will offer handmade arts and crafts in booths and stands throughout the festival grounds.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, waiters and waitresses will test their skills in the Waiter’s Race, in which competitors race for a finish line while balancing drinks on a tray.

Big eaters will get their chance to compete in the strawberry shortcake eating contests at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children and senior citizens.

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HAPPENING: Schedule of events for the annual California Strawberry Festival. B2


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