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Ripe for Fun

Strawberry festival features well-known bands and lots of fruit-flavored activities.

May 18, 2000|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There may not be many oranges grown in Orange County anymore, but there are still plenty of strawberries grown on the Oxnard Plain. To celebrate that happy fact, the 17th annual California Strawberry Festival will unfold this weekend at the aptly named Strawberry Meadows, a 75-acre site near Oxnard College.

Once again, the organizers will have a vast and varied soundtrack of bands playing throughout the weekend, including such rock stars as Starship, the Association, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Otis Day & the Knights of "Animal House" fame and East L.A.'s best, Los Lobos. And happily, the locals will once again be well represented with the likes of Acadiana, Teresa Russell & Cocobilli, Caught Red-Handed, Papa-Nata and Euphoria, all hoping to incite widespread dancing.

Event chairman Don DeArmond, not surprisingly, is happy with this year's lineup.

"We're constantly striving to give our festival patrons the very best in entertainment throughout the weekend with a variety of activities appealing to all ages," DeArmond said.

"This year more than ever, our musical lineup gives everyone the opportunity to leave their worries at home and join us for a great time."

This impending great time revolves around the prize crop of Oxnard, where more than a score of companies harvest nearly 16 million trays of the berries from 6,600 acres.

All things strawberry can be sampled at more than 40 food booths, with proceeds going to more than 20 local nonprofit organizations. Last year, more than $200,000 was raised.

Creative cuisine will include strawberry cotton candy, strawberry salad, strawberry pizza, egg rolls, chicken and tri-tip with strawberry sauce, strawberry kebabs and all manner of strawberry drinks, not to mention a sea of the red things powdered, glazed and dipped. For the less adventurous, strawberries will be available by the basket or flat. Casting calories to the wind, there will be a Tart Toss, as well as a Strawberry Shortcake Eating Competition and even a Strawberry Relay Race.

The event will also include an arts and crafts show featuring the work of more than 300 artists.

Strawberryland for Kids will be the destination of choice for the children, who will be entertained by clowns, jugglers, puppets, a petting zoo, a carousel, a berry-go-round and interactive displays, including hands-on arts and crafts.

Perhaps the only ones who totter on the verge of indifference when it comes to strawberries will be the four-legged Frisbee dogs who will be showcasing their talents over the weekend. A quartet of world champions (and their best friends) will be among the field of 75 that will demonstrate the catching ability of pro football wide receivers but at a fraction of the cost.

The canine competition, part of a national series, will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at noon.

As always, there is free parking at the Strawberry Festival, as well as Amtrak service and free bus shuttles every 20 minutes between the event and the Oxnard Transportation Center.

DETAILS

The 17th annual California Strawberry Festival, 3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard, Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Music on Saturday: Euphoria (10:30 a.m.), Uncle Monkey (10:45 a.m.), Bob Malone (11:50 a.m.), Blowin' Smoke (12:10 p.m.), Acadiana (1:10 p.m.), Starship (2 p.m.), the Long Run (2:30 p.m.), the Fabulous Thunderbirds (3:45 p.m.) and Bob's Yer Uncle (3:50 p.m.). Music on Sunday: Chocolatin (10:30 a.m.), Garrett Wilkins & the Parrot Heads (11 a.m.), Caught Red-Handed (11:50 a.m.), Otis Day & the Knights (12:30 p.m.), Teresa Russell & Cocobilli (1:10 p.m.), the Association (2 p.m.), Batista (2:30 p.m.), Los Lobos (3:30 p.m.) and Papa-Nata (3:50 p.m.); $9 general, $5 ages 5-12, free 4 and under. [888] 288-9242.

*

Expect far fewer strawberries, very different music and much more water when the 10th Annual Lake Casitas Intertribal Powwow unfolds this weekend. This is a nationally recognized event with more than 50 North American Indian tribes represented.

Traditional Native American music and dance will be presented nonstop over the weekend by numerous living historians.

And unlike in most suburban neighborhoods, all drums are welcome at this event. Noted artists and craftspeople will display jewelry, pottery and fine art in more than 50 booths.

*

DETAILS

10th Annual Lake Casitas Intertribal Powwow at Lake Casitas, Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; $7 general, $4 ages 5-11, free 4 and under. Event information: 496-6036. Campground reservations: 649-2233.

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