Berry Fest to celebrate harvest

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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The sweet scent of strawberries will permeate the air at The Placer County Fair and Events Center on Mother’s Day weekend. More than 100,000 local strawberries are expected to be consumed this year at the 2011 Berry Fest, formerly known as the Roseville Strawberry Festival. Event coordinator John Javidan, who also holds the popular Downtown Tuesday Nights in downtown Roseville, said this year will be a fun, family-friendly event. “I love strawberries and I love festivals, so why not throw the two together?” Javidan said. New to the third-annual event will be the “strawberry kitchen,” a display kitchen doing four shoes daily featuring local chefs and restaurateurs giving lessons on cooking with strawberries. “It’s more than just strawberries and this year there’s more of a focus on Placer County agriculture,” said Joan Bartosik, chief executive officer of the Placer County Fair and Events Center. “It’s a lot of fun and a very well-supported community event.” A costume parade is also new this year, and anyone who is dressed up in “strawberry attire” is invited to participate, Javidan said. The parade will take place at 12:45 p.m. on each day of the festival. Other events include children’s shows, including Izzi Tooinsky’s Little Giant Theater and Magical Moonshine Puppets, a strawberry shortcake eating contest, a classic car cruise and the popular Miss Strawberry pageant. “We’ve already got a few entries for the strawberry shortcake eating contest, which is unusual,” Javidan said. “Usually it fills up during the event, but a couple people signed up early because they missed out on it last year.” Javidan said almost all of the strawberries used at the event, including those used by food vendors, are grown locally in Placer and Sacramento counties. About 120 vendors are expected to show up, showcasing strawberry-themed food and beverages such as strawberry pancakes, strawberry pizza, deep-fried strawberry pie, strawberry cookies, and even strawberry beer provided by the Lost Coast Brewing Company. “There is so much strawberry food,” Javidan said. “I eat there all weekend long, nobody is there more than me, and I still haven’t tasted everything.” The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 7 and 8 at the Placer County Fair and Events Center, 800 All America City Blvd., in Roseville. A pancake breakfast will kick off the festivities each day, benefiting the Boy Scouts of America. A special preview reception will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 5 featuring live music, beer and wine tasting and samples of festival food at the fairgrounds. Tickets to the festival are $5 for Boy Scouts, $8 for adults and children 8 and under are free. Toby Lewis can be reached at