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Berry Bevy: California Strawberry Festival

How much pie can you eat in a very intense and short period of time?

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BERRY VS. BERRY: We'd never be the first to pit one luscious berry against another, for the all-important crown of berry world greatness, because, hey, every small seedy orb has its fan. Of course, if we did pit berry against berry, we could use the word "seed" a lot, as in first seed, as in the sports term, but we'll fight that particular urge. What we won't and can't fight, however, is this pretty easy to justify claim: The strawberry sits near the top of the berry world greatness tower of perfection. Does it wear the crown as top berry? We'll leave that up to the mouth of the beholder, but, trust: It's up there.

SUPREME STRAWBERRY: We all acknowledge and embrace the strawberry's supreme nature. It's big for a berry, generally, sometimes very big. It's meaty, as berries go, delivering a lot of flavor in one seedy space. It comes with its own leafy holder on top, if you're into that. And chocolate-dipping? Strawberries practically invented it. And while there are many strawberry bashes around, one continues to hold happy sway, in large part because it is so darn large. And colorful, and full of carnival-spirit, and, yep, we're about to write "Oxnard" here. We speak of the mondo California Strawberry Festival, which jams things right -- that's the good "jams," of course -- on Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18.

WHAT'S ON THE ROSTER? Strawberry tart tossing, strawberry pie eating competitions, a relay race, a berry-bedecked hat contest, a shortcake build-off (whipped cream is SO key here, right?), and everything that's big and festival-y. So music, entertainment, more eats, sunshine, breezes, and anything that can be cooked with a strawberry and then consumed. A ticket? It's twelve bucks. Want to Amtrak it? There are suggestions. Agree the strawberry is in the top berry pantheon? Yeah, we all think that.

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