Join in the fun! From our famous Tart Toss and Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contests to watching professional and celebrity chefs battle it out on stage. You won’t want to miss these epic berry-best battles.

California Strawberry Festival Tart Toss

Contests at the Festival

Berry Blast Off Recipe Contest

Presented by Ventura County Star

Saturday, May 14th @ 1:30 pm at the Festival Stage
There’s no holding back when two finalists go head-to-head in a timed culinary quest to prepare the ultimate strawberry dish as they vie for top honors and the coveted grand prize vacation getaway. Contestants should be mindful that if selected as one of five semi-finalists, they compete in a timed “Iron Chef” approach that requires them to prepare their recipe for a panel of judges.

2023 Applications Coming Soon!


Previous Winners’ Recipes

2019 Winner – Sweet Spicy Savory Strawberry Salsa Drenched Fried Avocado Soft Tacos

2018 Winner – Coconut Shrimp with Strawberry-Chipotle Dipping Sauce and Sweet Coconut Rice

2017 Winner – Korean Style Strawberry Marinated Beef Tacos in Lettuce Leaves and Daikon Radish Sweet and Spicy Kimchi

2016 Winner – Lemongrass-Ginger Strawberry Shrimp Crisps & Strawberry Avocado Mash 

2015 Winner A – Strawberry Vinaigrette Marinated Bacon Steak Spinach Salad

2015 Winner B – Steamed Strawberry Coconut Poke Cake

2014 Winner – Spicy Strawberry Five Spice Chicken Wings 

2013 Winner – Strawberry Coconut No-Bake Tiramisu

Strawberry Tart Toss

Strawberry Tart Toss

Daily at 11:00am and 2:30pm at the Contest Area
Ready set goooooo! Take aim for in-your-face fun.

Strawberry Shortcake Eating

Strawberry Shortcake Eating

Daily at 1:00pm and 4:00pm at the Contest Area
A timed challenge you can really sink your teeth into. Devour every last bite of strawberry pie, sans utensils. Available to contestants 13 years of age or older.

Strawberry Baby Fashion Show

Strawberry Baby Fashion Show

Daily at 2:45 pm at the Jest in Time Family Fun Stage
Open to infants up to four years of age. Youngsters, with the help of their parents, parade across the stage to the “oohs and aahs” from the crowd. All participants receive recognition. Sign up at the Jest in Time Family Fun Stage 30 minutes prior.


Strawberry Smackdown

Presented by Fruli

Sunday, May 15th @ 1:30 pm at the Festival Stage
Two Ventura County celebrity chefs go spoon-to-spoon in a Food Network-inspired Chopped style cooking challenge where they must create a strawberry dish that is not only sensational but must utilize key ingredients they only discover once the showdown begins.  Find out who will win the Strawberry Smackdown trophy!

2019 Smackdown Winner: 

Executive Pastry Chef Julia San Bartolome owns Sweet Arleen’s bakery in Westlake Village and is a three time winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.  A Ventura resident, she has a passion for all things food related. She holds a degree in pastry arts from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

2023 Contestants Coming Soon!

Pre-Festival Contests

Elementary School Youth Art Design Contest

Elementary School Youth Art Design Contest

Each year, the Festival reaches out to Ventura County school districts inviting teachers and their K through 6th-grade students to create a colorful strawberry design as part of their curriculum highlighting Ventura County’s rich agricultural heritage. All students who submit a design receive a free ticket to the Festival. Finalists receive recognition and prizes. To enter please download and submit the application found below.

2019 Contest – Out of 1,076 entries received from kids in kindergarten through sixth grade throughout Ventura County, the creative strawberry design by 10-year-old Alan Sanchez from McKinna Elementary School in Oxnard was selected as the grand prize winner of the 36th Annual California Strawberry Festival’s Youth Art Design Contest.

In honor of his accomplishment, Festival representatives threw a surprise strawberry cupcake party and award presentation April 24 with Sanchez’s after-school class joining in and his parents looking on. Sanchez received a $100 gift certificate, a t-shirt with his design and a framed presentation of his artwork, which will be displayed at the California Strawberry Festival.

Click here for info and guidelines

Click here for Youth Design Entry Form



Artwork Contest

Artwork Contest

2020 Applications Have Closed

As a symbol of each annual celebration, we showcase original work from the winner of our poster contest. It’s been a part of the Festival’s heritage since our inception and has grown to become a coveted honor of recognition. The grand prize winner receives $2,000 and their creation could be used as the official artwork for the Festival with branding and souvenir posters, collectible t-shirts and merchandise. In 2017 we opened up our submissions to include the digital arts.

Congratulations to Kimberly Duran, our 2020 artwork contest winner. Her design conveys her message of love and her love of strawberries. Recently, Duran has been on a campaign to spread love, including love of culture and community, through her artwork. As a muralist, her designs are on display in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The festival poster is her first work in Ventura County. “I happen to love strawberries. I eat them every morning,” says Duran. “The shape of a strawberry reminds me of a heart. I used the concept of hands making a heart symbol and a heart-shaped strawberry within the hands to spread love and the love of strawberries.”

To check out the posters since 1984 click here

To view contest rules and guidelines, click here 

2023 Fan Favorite Battle of the Bands

Presented by Cumulus Media

Submit your application for a chance to be chosen as one of the finalists who will duke it out on social media in our annual Battle of the Bands contest!

Applications coming soon!