Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival

SWEET SANTA MARIA: Some towns dream of being associated with one delicious food. Anything. Say, a casserole, or. Crackers. But those edible associations don't happen overnight. Years of cooking and festival-throwing and reputation-building lead food lovers to associate a foodstuff with a location. And lucky Santa Maria happens to have a few delicious associations. One, of course, it its namesake barbecue. And two is the strawberry, a fruit that gets its own party every spring. And that 2011 is scheduled for Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1.

SEEDY DEETS: The Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival will features family to-dos, like carnival rides, as well as food options. And yep, a certain berry will take centerstage. Our only wish is that some risk-taking chef will combine strawberries and Santa Maria barbecue. Maybe not brisket with berries sliced on top, but rather... a sweet glaze? It could happen.

STAY TUNED: More berry-nice fests ahead, including the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, which is happening May 21-22.

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