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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Strawberry Festival Draws 81,000

May 22, 2000|TONY LYSTRA

Scorching inland temperatures and clear skies brought hordes of berry lovers to Oxnard over the weekend for the 17th annual California Strawberry Festival.

An estimated 43,000 packed College Park on Sunday for the event's final day, which included performances by the Association and Los Lobos, as well as a craft show and plenty of delectable strawberry desserts.

A total of 81,000 attended the two-day event, 1,000 more than last year, organizers said.

"We're very pleased," said Don DeArmond, the festival's chairman. "It's a great way to finish a great, sunny weekend."

DeArmond attributed the larger crowds to hot weather--particularly in inland areas such as Simi Valley, where temperatures reached a record 97 degrees. That broke a 1967 record of 96 degrees for the date, according to the National Weather Service.

In Oxnard, meanwhile, temperatures were in the high 70s. "A lot of people came out of the inland areas to beat the heat," DeArmond said.

Forecasts call for sunny skies and coastal highs around 70 today, with low morning clouds in beach areas. Valley temperatures could be as high as 105.

Temperatures are expected to cool slightly by Friday in coastal areas and drop dramatically in the valleys.

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