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California Strawberry Festival raises money for schools and scholarships

California Strawberry Festival raises money for schools and scholarships

VENTURA, Calif.-The California Strawberry Festival wrapped up a weekend of mouth-watering fun and fundraising at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura.

The 38th festival serves as fundraiser for school groups and non profits.

Buena High School Music Association raised money by making and selling funnel cakes.

Other school booster clubs sold coffee and snacks.

The event also raises thousands of dollars for the Dr. Kato Memorial Scholarship Fund that is named after the late festival founder and former mayor of Oxnard.

The money has helped the children of farm workers attend college.

Some of Kato's relatives came from Long Beach to enjoy the festival.

"It is a dream come true for him, "said his sister Loraine Kato Lieppman, " This is what he started over 30 years ago, I am just happy to see it his son Dean Kato is in charge of this, and we are just pleased to be able to share it with them."

Festival goers also enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries , kabobs and funnel cakes.

Adults enjoyed strawberry margaritas and strawberry beer.

Growers were also on hand selling the area's number one cash crop by the tray and basket.

"This is a huge strawberry, you can eat it with sour cream, with sugar, dip it in chocolate, with a smoothie ,you can do the best smoothies with the big strawberries," said Magaly Hernandez of Faria Farms.

Grower Glen Hasegawa of Faria Farms in Oxnard said cross breeding makes them large and sweet.

He said they are not genetically modified.

"Now they are kind of at their peak flavor,so, it is a good time great time to eat 'em." said Hasegawa.

He prefers to eat them right out of the tray.

Festivalgoers also enjoyed rides, Steve's Fun Balloons and the work of caricature artists.

Shoppers also had a chance to buy strawberry inspired arts and crafts.

The festival that began in Kato's backyard moved to the Channel Islands Harbor in the 1980s and then to Strawberry Meadows at Oxnard College.

Last year, it moved to the fairgrounds.

Organizers did their best to cut down on traffic jams by offering free shuttles.

For more information about the annual festival visit

Article Topic Follows: Ventura County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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