Mmm, Dessert Nachos: Strawberry Fest Opens

It's the 32nd outing for the Oxnard party and the plates are sweetly offbeat.

As much as we profess to like sweet milkshakes with a dash of heat and salsa with a hint of sweet, we probably still keep our pantries and our refrigerators organized by how hot or sugary we perceive a food to be.

The peppers go over here; the marshmallows over there; and the tasty twain shall not be meeting in any meals. 

Clearly big, bold food festivals do follow many of our pantry-organizing plans, and thank goodness. Look to the venerable California Strawberry Festival, which enjoys its 32nd annual seedy spectacular on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 in Oxnard.

The snack opportunities are a major part of the two-day carnival -- well, beyond taking the chance to throw a whipped cream-laden tart at your BFF, of course -- and the snacking shows quite the knack for melding differing food concepts.

Strawberry nachos? Check, they're there (though, truly, they're really on the sweet side, with none of the typical savory ingredients to be found). Strawberry pizza and strawberry kabobs? They sound like dinner but trust: It's dessert wearing dinner's dress-up clothing. Strawberry beer? This is a thing in the world you can try, if you're over 21.

And deep-friend strawberries? Hoo boy. Deep-friend candy bars and pickles and olives, step aside, please.

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Homespun contests, stop-and-sip wine tastings, a build-your-own strawberry shortcake tent, and other tart to-dos dot the juicy schedule. And, yes, there shall be many people in their best strawberry-red outfits, though we want to see someone sport a leafy green hat. (The part of the strawberry that so often goes unsung, but is so handy for hanging onto, right?)

The sweetest end of things, though? "(O)ver 20 Southland charities" win thanks to the money raised from this, one of the Golden State's best-known fruit-forward parties.

Helping people is far cheerier than any cheery strawberry illustration, and cheery strawberry illustrations are some of the cutest sights on the planet. This is a fact, right? 

Okay, the facts are a little soft, when it comes to strawberry festivals, but so are pies and tarts, of which there shall be many to enjoy. Wear a shirt that's maybe already gently stained, is what we're advising.

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