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Major changes coming to Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival, including new name and format

Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival
After months of uncertainty, the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival will continue on, but will feature several changes in 2020, including a new name and dramatically different format.

ARROYO GRANDE , Calif. -- After months of uncertainty, the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival will continue on, but will feature several changes in 2020, including a new name and dramatically different format.

The reimagined festival will be called the Strawberry Celebration 2020 and include the the slogan, "New Decade, New Vision."

It's part of a major overhaul to the event that dates back to 1983.

No longer will the Memorial Day event include dozens of street vendors along closed-down Branch and Bridge streets and Olohan Alley.

Instead, it will be much smaller in size and will focus on local businesses and Five Cities strawberry industry.

"This year instead of vendors being along the street, they will be in select businesses, whatever village businesses want to participate, will have either an artist or local craft person or musician, " said Hello Village owner Krista Bandy, who has been involved in the business-led effort to organize the new event.

There will also be an emphasis on area musicians and artists, who will perform and showcase their work inside businesses.

"It's keeping the money local," said Hello Bandy. "It's keeping it here. We're focusing more on the business part of the village then just getting a lot of random vendors from all over that take their money and run."

All streets in the village will remain open. A small section of vendors will be held in the parking lot between Old Village Grill and Bill's Cleaners.

Vendors will need to be locally-operated.

A farmer's market, which typically is held each Saturday in Olohan Alley, is also likely to be included.

In addition, there are plans for a Memorial Day event on Monday.

The Strawberry Festival was previously operated by the Village Improvement Association. However, the group dissolved in December, leaving the event without leadership.

Since then, the South County Chambers of Commerce, along with several village businesses owners, have collaborated to create a grassroots effort to keep the festival going in some capacity.

There have been many concerns within the city over the past several years regarding the large size and scale of the Strawberry Festival.

Organizers of this year's event are hoping a smaller, scaled-down version will help draw attention back to locally-owned and operated shops and businesses within the village area.

Strawberry Celebration 2020 will be held on Memorial Day weekend on May 23-24.

Agriculture / California / Events / Lifestyle / San Luis Obispo County / What's Right

Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.