GG Strawberry Festival is ripening

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It’s that time of year again.

Well, almost.

We’re about a month away from the annual Strawberry Festival, a weekend event that draws hundreds of thousands from Orange County and beyond.

The 55th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for the community.  

This annual event has brought in over $6 million for local charities since its inception in 1958.   

In 2012, 13 non-profits received a combined total of over $122,000.  

It’s that time of year again.

Well, almost.

We’re about a month away from the annual Strawberry Festival, a weekend event that draws hundreds of thousands from Orange County and beyond.

The 55th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for the community.  

This annual event has brought in over $6 million for local charities since its inception in 1958.   

In 2012, 13 non-profits received a combined total of over $122,000.  

This year’s theme is Celebrating 55 Years of Helping Local Kids, a natural since in addition to contributing funds to youth-oriented charities, the festival board also permits many of them to sell food and hold games at the event where they raise thousands of dollars for their organizations. 

The board also awards scholarships to local school students and underwrites parade participation for school bands. And annually, the festival treats over 2,000 special needs kids to a day of free rides and food.

The festival will be held Memorial Day Weekend Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27. Friday hours are 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Admission is free. Special one-price ride-all-day wristbands will be offered for all festival days at $25 per wristband on Friday and $30 each on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  Tickets for individual rides can also be purchased separately at $1 per ticket. 

The four-day event, which is the second largest city festival in the Western United States, will be held at the Village Green between Main Street and Euclid Avenue in downtown Garden Grove. Last year’s attendance was over 300,000. 

Highlights include the Friday evening official giant strawberry cake cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. at the Showmobile (Acacia and Main streets) when free cake is served to over 2,000 people. Saturday morning is an 8:30 a.m. VIP celebrity breakfast at the Garden Grove Community Center, with proceeds going to We Give Thanks, followed by a parade which starts at 10 a.m. with floats, bands, equestrians and characters such as Knott’s Berry Farm’s Snoopy. Many film and TV celebrities will be honored in the parade.  

All four festival days will include 35 carnival rides, five contests, over 200 food and sales booths, games, music and live entertainment in the amphitheater and Showmobile.  

Contests, held in the festival’s 550-seat amphitheater, include the Berry, Berry Beautiful Baby Contest, Redhead Roundup, Strawberry Idol Karaoke and Tiny Tots King and Queen. 

For more information, call 714-638-0981orvisit www.strawberryfestival.org.