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Girls 'n' Boys 'n' Berries

Strawberries come in many temptations at the weekend festival in Garden Grove

May 25, 2003|Stanley Allison | Times Staff Writer

It's a strawberry thing. Chocolate covered, in crepes, shortcake, funnel cakes topped with ... you guessed it, strawberries.

Despite a light but persistent rain Saturday, visitors to the 45th annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival casually strolled the festival grounds, enjoying the rides, the food and games. They lined the parade route and cheered as vintage cars and floats passed by, bearing Kate Linder, who plays Esther Valentine on "The Young and the Restless" TV soap opera, and waving to stars from "The Lizzie McGuire Movie."

Sponsored by the nonprofit Strawberry Festival Assn., the free event opened Friday and continues through Monday at the Village Green off Euclid Street.

"We just like coming for the booths," said Charlotte Lee of Garden Grove who has been attending the festival with daughter Karen Vargas of Fullerton since 1975.

"And then there's the strawberry shortcake," said Vargas, her mom nodding in agreement.

Handmade crafts, tattoos, food, food and more food were to be found throughout the festival grounds.

Michelle Jackson of Fullerton was headed for the strawberry crepes, and Jayne Moats looked heavenward when she mentioned the strawberry shortcake.

Carolyn Georgia, who sells halos and hats at the festival, confessed to a little overindulgence with chocolate-covered strawberries.

"I OD on them every year," Georgia said.

She and daughter Brittany Moore have been coming together for seven years, and this year Moore introduced her 4-month-old daughter, Brene, to the festival.

Georgia, who said she rents booths at just a few fairs and festivals, said she especially likes the Garden Grove event "because it's so well organized, and so well run and attended. The festival organization, they have this down to a science."

And the rain did not dampen her enthusiasm. "Every year it does this one of the mornings," she said.

Each year, the festival association donates its net proceeds to nonprofit agencies. Last year the association gave away $150,000. Since 1958, it has raised more than $3.5 million for charities.

This year's festival has the theme "A Salute to Education ... Those Who Teach and Guide Our Children" and features former state Education Secretary Marian Bergeson.

"With our theme of education this year, we plan to donate additional funds to the Garden Grove schools," said David Pankopf, this year's festival president.

Other charities that will benefit from the festival are the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove and Project Dignity.

The festival is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday. Admission and parking are free. All-day ride passes are $15.

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