Sweets, celebrities and crashing cymbals will be among the highlights of the 55th annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival, which opens this Friday in the Village Green Park at Euclid and Main streets in downtown Garden Grove and concludes Monday.
The Green, an expanded version of the community’s very first park, becomes a kind of local county fair each Memorial Day weekend with a Ferris wheel, cotton candy and a non-stop sound track of music, laughter and delighted screams.
The theme of the festival is “55 Years of Kids Helping Kids” and theme grand marshal for Saturday morning’s parade will be news personality Christine Devine.
The celebrity grand marshals will be Leah Cecil, the reigning Miss California (and a former Miss Garden Grove) along with TV and film actor James Hong.
Key events in the festival will include the cutting of a giant strawberry shortcake at the opening ceremonies Friday evening, and the parade, which starts at 9th Street and moves west to Euclid Street, where it turns south, breaking up after crossing Stanford Avenue.
All weekend the Village Green will be bright and noisy with carnival rides, games, food and merchandise booths, entertainment and more.
The festival, which began in 1958 as a way of highlighting what was once the city’s signature crop, is run by the Strawberry Festival Association, which is staffed entirely by volunteers.
Not only do many civic and youth groups raise funds for their activities at the festival, but also the Association donates proceeds to various community groups and agencies. Over $6.5 million has been donated since the festival began.
Garden Grove Journal is one of 32 sponsors of the event.