Inspired by a new lens, I’ve been eager to do more event photography. Rather than brave the crowds and monotony of the Gilroy Garlic Festival this year, I instead chose to attend the Watsonville Strawberry Festival. Held the week after the Garlic Festival about 20 miles away, the Strawberry Festival offered free entry, free parking, a reasonable crowd, and some sweet strawberry treats.
The strawberry nachos were a great idea and consisted of pita chips topped with strawberries, cinnamon and powdered sugar. As tasty and creative as the nachos were, the highlight of the festival for me was the strawberry pizza. A strange combination until I accepted pizza as a dessert. And an excellent dessert it was, the lightly baked and cooled thin crust was the perfect vessel for the strawberries and cream cheese that topped it. Simple and delicious.
In addition, the festival had something new I had not seen at any other food festivals I’ve been to, a pie eating contest. About every hour at the main stage, several contestants took their places along a long table and made their best effort to inhale a strawberry pie as quickly as possible with their hands tied behind their backs.
The pie was just strawberry filling and whipped cream in a pie tin, but just as messy as a real pie and just as entertaining to watch people try to eat.
In addition to the strawberry goodies, the festival had standard fair food and local groups in booths handing out informational pamphlets – a disturbing amount of which had “spin-the-wheel”s for dinky prizes. Ford even went so far as to have a “spin-the-car” with one of their new model cars on a spinning hydraulic lift of sorts. Sadly, you could not win the car, but they did have $10 gas cards among the prizes.
The festival also had carnival rides for the younger crowd, although the handful of rides saw little action, perhaps due to the less-than-summery weather.
In between pie eating contests, several bands of vastly different abilities played the main stage.
Overall, a very tasty and entertaining afternoon.
Parking: Free (on the street)
Hours of entertainment: 2-3
Best thing: Strawberry Pizza
Worth the drive: Absolutely
Going again next year: You bet
More of my pictures from the event can be found here.