Okay, it's Spring and what to do...within a few miles radius of The Militant Compound is the Silver Lake Jubilee, but from his experience during last year's inaugural event, it was just a bunch of awful hipster bands, redeemed only by a large collection of food trucks. Besides, by the definition of the word "jubilee," isn't the next one supposed to be in 2060 instead of this weekend?
So f dat. The Militant decided to leave the bike at the compound and head on up the coast and to Oxnard (which you all should know by now is one of the great music capitals of America), where the annual California Strawberry Festival is also on this weekend.
Deciding to drive up the coast (No Metrolink Ventura County service on weekends, sorry to say) turned out to be a nice decision; The Militant opted to take PCH straight up from Santa Monica through Malibu and on to Ventura County, where the ocean view alone struck up a swelling of California pride in the Militant.
Arriving in Oxnard around an hour later, he decided to take advantage of the festival's free shuttle bus service, from five park-n-ride locations around Oxnard feeding into the festival grounds at that city's College Park. It was surprisingly convenient, coming from the Centerpoint Mall parking lot, where the Militant only had to wait but one minute before the shuttle bus (a re-commissioned school bus actually, but 'tis cool) arrived. Sweet!
For those who haven't been, this festival is about anything and everything fragaria ananassa. There's all sorts of strawberry-related food and drink, strawberry-themed rides and an arts and crafts bazaar which may or may not be strawberry-related. There's also a bunch of local cover bands that perform (guess that whole music city thing was no joke after all...) on a few stages.
The Militant had been to the Strawberry Festival before, back in 2004. While it was a great fete in honor of the area's top agricultural crop, he also not-so-fondly remembered dusty parking lots, muddy grassy fields and long-ass lines for food.
Severn years later, things were different -- in the good way. The park had been remodeled somewhat since last time and the configuration of the festival had changed and grown. Most of all, there were two food court areas instead of just one, and the lines were considerably shorter (although the Militant got there quite late in the day, with only but an hour and 20 minutes to enjoy the festival).
With but 80 minutes to enjoy this thing, there was no time to spare! Right upon entry, he tried the reasonably-priced $2.50 strawberry smoothie, which really hit the spot. After navigating the arts & crafts section, he tried a glass of strawberry beer ($10, reeeeeeal subtle, folks...but hey you get a nice souvenir glass). Then came the popular build-your-own strawberry shortcake pavilion ($5 for all the strawberries, strawberry jelly, pound cake and whipped cream you can cram in a bowl). By then The Militant was almost all berry'd out. The strawberry pizza and strawberry nachos would have to wait until next year (relax, they're both dessert-type foods with only a slight resemblance to their namesakes).
Though there were strawberry vendors onsite at the festival, the Militant went out into the nearby Oxnard farmlands to get the real deals. He was even recognized by the vendors of one of the certified farmer's markets he frequents regularly, who set up a stand at their farm. They even gave him a discount after he bought two flats of strawberries (he can be rather hardcore with these things...)
With the sun setting over the agricultural wonderland that is Oxnard, The Militant headed back to Los Angeles via the 101 and made it back to The Compound in around an hour. He had almost forgotten that the large metropolis of Los Angeles is only an hour away from farming areas; a slight reminder of Los Angeles' past and how fortunate we are to be relatively close to places that are decidedly non-urban, if we choose to get away from the concrete and asphalt of our environment, if only for a few hours.
The California Strawberry Festival continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Admission is $12. Parking is $10 so you should really take advantage of that shuttle. If you missed this one, fear not, for there is another strawberry festival next weekend (Friday-Monday), this time in Garden Grove.