first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsBesides the strawberry-laden funnel cakes, people could buy flats of plain strawberries, strawberries dipped in a variety of chocolates, strawberry smoothees, strawberry nachos, strawberry (dessert) pizza, “Devil Brownies” topped with strawberries, strawberry shortcakes, strawberry lemonade, strawberry margaritas, strawberry wine and even strawberry beer. “(The beer) doesn’t taste like liquid strawberry; it has a light essence” of the fruit, said Robin Nishizaki, 29, of Camarillo, a chef, who was at the festival with his wife, Nicole, 26. “It’s a nice summer ale.” Decked in a fluffy white veil and a pink T-shirt that read “Team Bride,” bride-to-be Stephanie Stage, 30, of Anaheim, chose the festival for her bachelorette party, with her mother, Gigi Rivera, 47, of Northridge, and other members of “Team Bride,” sister Heather Brey, 27, Desiree Crow, 33, of Anaheim, and Jenny Smith, 27, of Burbank. “I wanted to do something where I could just spend some time hanging out with my girlfriends,” Stage said. “And they have alcohol, good food and friendly people here,” her mother added. OXNARD – The first thing on Megan McGugan’s to-do list at the 23rd annual California Strawberry Festival: Eat a funnel cake smothered in powdered sugar, fresh strawberries and whipped cream. “I think it’s the powdered sugar, and it’s deep-fried and greasy, and now I’ve got powdered sugar on my skirt and I had whipped cream on my chin,” said McGugan, 20, of La Crescenta, as she happily devoured the treat with her friend, Suzanne Stanke, 18, and Stanke’s mother, Patti, 48. “And it’s such a healthy food,” teased Patti Stanke. “Oh, but it does have strawberries on it.” Nearly 32,000 came to the festival Saturday – the event continues today – to feast on the dark red berries with the sunshine-warm taste in nearly every possible combination. Nearly 70,000 people attended the two-day festival last year, said Lisa Carey, spokeswoman. The food court resembled a mini United Nations, with such exotic offerings as key lime calamari, garlic french fries, gyros, falafel, Salvadoran corn cakes, cinnamon almonds, artichoke hearts, Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwiches, barbecued tri-tip sandwiches and vegetarian egg rolls. The festival also offered carnival rides, a strawberry pie-eating contest and a strawberry tart toss, but for many visitors, the real draw was the shopping, with more than 300 fine arts and crafts vendors selling handmade soaps, clothing, paintings and sculptures in wood, metal, glass and ceramics. Helena Espinoza, 25, of Camarillo was charmed by an Art Nouveau-style sculpture of Shakespeare’s Titania rendered in terra cotta-looking concrete by Marin County sculptor Danieli. A space at the back of the sculpture held a votive candle, with the light flickering from the sculpture’s glass eyes. “At night, you can see her eyes glow, but if you don’t want to put a candle in it, you can put flowers,” Espinoza said. “Flowers by day, candles by night. I have the perfect place to put it, by my front door.” [email protected] (818) 713-3663160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img