California Strawberry Festival canceled for second year in a row because of COVID-19

Workers pick strawberries in Santa Maria.
Workers pick strawberries in Santa Maria. The annual California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard was canceled because of the coronavirus.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

It will be another not-so-fruitful year for the annual California Strawberry Festival, which was canceled again for 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual Oxnard celebration, which had been scheduled for mid-May, was shuttered due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, according to a statement on the festival’s website.

“We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment, not only to the thousands of guests we welcome every year, but also to the sponsors, exhibitors, performers, vendors and volunteers who help make the festival what it is,” said festival chairman Dean Kato in a statement.


“The California Strawberry Festival’s primary concern is the health and safety of everyone involved in the event,” the statement continued. “The uncertainty regarding what the pandemic and state health guidelines will look like in May, as well as the status of widespread vaccine distribution, are also factors in the festival board’s decision.”

The announcement marks the latest change in plans for iconic annual celebrations. Once the pandemic took off last year, large-scale events such as RuPaul’s DragCon and SXSW canceled like dominoes.

The festival’s decision could be a harbinger for other popular events. Coachella has been postponed until April, but Rolling Stone speculated a few months ago that the annual music festival could be pushed back again to October. After a yearlong hiatus, Stagecoach also hopes to return in April, according to a statement on its website.