By Tim Pompey
Two things signal spring every year in Ventura County. First, flowers start to show their little heads. Second, the California Strawberry Festival reveals its poster contest winner.
During its annual luncheon at Yolanda’s Mexican Café at the Oxnard Harbor on Tuesday, March 5, the 36th annual California Strawberry Festival kicked off with a poster reveal in which a giant strawberry under construction rises from elongated rows of berries to announce the coming festivities in May.
Its graphic feel is by design. Winner Aaron Trask from Glendale, who works as a graphic designer at Dragonfly Design Group in Burbank, paid tribute to his background and interest in 3D illustration and animation. More important, however, he paid tribute to his daughter Catherine’s love of strawberries.
“I wanted the design to capture the attention and imagination of my 2-year-old daughter,” said Trask. “She loves strawberries.”
Trask, who grew up in Sherman Oaks and attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has been a designer for more than twenty years. One of his specialties includes 3D illustration.
Trask entered with the encouragement of his wife Casey and his mother-in-law Melanie Yorn.
“I heard about the strawberry festival from my best friend, my mother-in-law,” he explained. “She lives in Thousand Oaks and goes to the strawberry festival every year. So, she said, ‘Hey, I got a job for you.’”
To attract his daughter’s attention, he included brightly colored illustrations and designs that had lots of contrast.
“It’s something that a young child would gravitate toward,” he said, “and something an adult could appreciate.”
Picturing the festival in his mind, he wanted to pique people’s interest. “My poster gets at the anticipation of the festival itself,” he noted.
For Trask, it’s the first art contest he’s ever entered. Imagine the moment when he learned he was the winner.
“My mother-in-law cried when I told them that I had won,” he said. “The whole process from start to finish has been a family affair.”
Mike Thompson, the festival’s board chair, insisted that the festival was always changing and upgrading itself. Thompson felt that Trask’s poster was best representative of that attitude.
“What I’ve experienced in my years on the board,” said Thompson, “has been a willingness by a group of people to make change. In my mind the festival has always been in a state of change, and that’s reflected in what we see here today in the artwork.”
For Mayor Tim Flynn, the festival has come to represent Oxnard. When he travels and mentions the city of Oxnard, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is the strawberry festival.
“The strawberry festival is the gift that keeps on giving,” Flynn shared with the audience. “A lot of what people think in Ventura County and across the state about the city of Oxnard is in part because of the strawberry festival.”
This year the festival will continue to expand. Thompson is anticipating more than 200 arts and crafts vendors, 50 food booths, a build-your-own strawberry shortcake booth, and Strawberryland for Kids with rides and attractions.
The dates for the festival are May 18 and 19, 2019 at Strawberry Meadows of College Park, 3250 South Rose Avenue, in Oxnard.
General admission is $12. Seniors 62 and over are $8, and children ages 5-12 are $5. Kids 4 and under are free. Active military and dependents with ID are $8.
The hours for both days are 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Free Park and Ride “Strawberry Express” shuttles are available with pickup locations off the 101 freeway. Parking onsite is $10.
Tickets are available for purchase in advance online via the California Strawberry Festival website. For toll-free information, call 888-288-9242.
Photo Credits: Tim Pompey
Tim Pompey, a freelance writer who has done lots of local affairs and entertainment/cultural writing, lives in Oxnard. Tim is also a fiction writer (Facebook Page). You can learn about his books on Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/booksbytimpompey.
Mr. Pompey’s Newest Book: Mrs. Parsley and the Tale of Mossel’s Farm
Mrs. Parsley loves to tell stories to children. In her little house in Okafor, Florida, she writes them herself. Then, in a twist from her own past, Mrs. Parsley and her young friend Terence go on an adventure to rescue children held captive at the Mossel’s farm deep in the Big Cypress Swamp. Down the Blue Pole Road, across the Midnight Ferry, past the Milky White Magnolia Trail, and through the Crossing of the Gnome, magic, danger, and a wee bit of fun await them as they carry out their mission. Who will travel with Mrs. Parsley as she reclaims her past and discovers a new future—for Terence, for the captured children, for herself?
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