Event offers strawberries and more

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Since 1958 the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival has treated the community to free strawberry shortcake at its grand opening ceremony, this year to be held in the Showmobile May 23 at 6 p.m. at Main and Acacia streets in Garden Grove.

The giant cake will be created by French’s Pastry Bakery in Costa Mesa.

Since 1958 the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival has treated the community to free strawberry shortcake at its grand opening ceremony, this year to be held in the Showmobile May 23 at 6 p.m. at Main and Acacia streets in Garden Grove.

The giant cake will be created by French’s Pastry Bakery in Costa Mesa.

Some of the Saturday parade celebrities, who could not resist having a taste, will be there to say a few words and pass out cake to the crowd. They include Celebrity Grand Marshal Carolyn Hennesy (General Hospital; Jessie), Theme Grand Marshal George West (GGUSD Board President) and Miss Outstanding Teen Sara Silberman. Plus Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (Modern Family); Xolo Mariduena (Parenthood), Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless), Cameron Ocasio (Sam & Cat), Lance Lim (Growing Up Fisher), and Chloe Noelle (True Blood).

In the past, as many as 2,000 have come out for free cake. Many local dignitaries also attend. Garden Grove Mayor Bruce Broadwater will cut the first piece and present the giant strawberry cake top to Miss Garden Grove Jessica Tonti.

During the four-day Memorial Day weekend event over 300,000 annual attendees head for the festival’s 200-plus food and commercial booths where they find treasures to buy and all kinds of treats to try. Booths open at 1 p.m. on Friday May 23 and at 10 a.m. May 24 through May 26.

The 2014 Festival Theme is “Honoring Our Exceptional Educators.” This year, 13 charities will be selling food to fill their coffers: Assistance League, Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove, Garden Grove High School Band Boosters, Garden Grove High School Baseball Boosters, Garden Grove Lions Club, Greater Kiwanis Club of Garden Grove, Guardettes, Jobs Daughters, Kiwanis Club of Garden Grove, Pacifica High School Girls Softball Boosters, Shakespeare Orange County, The Emblem Club and Young Vietnamese Ministry of St. Columban. Collectively, the food booths bring in approximately $90,000.

Offerings include strawberry treats such as bowls of strawberries, strawberry royals, sundaes, shortcake, smoothies, and cheesecake. In addition, festival goers can enjoy muffins, shortcake, and funnel cakes, and traditional fare including hot dogs, pizza, chicken wings, chili, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, BBQ beef sandwiches and soup, Some tempting ethnic foods are available as well: chillitos, nacho supremes, pork carne asada, chicken tacos, cheese quesadillas, fried squid, chicken fish balls, fried banana and egg rolls.

La Casa Garcia is donating food for the festival’s annual pre-parade breakfast Saturday, May 24 at 8 a.m. at the Garden Grove Community Center, 11300 Stanford Ave. at Euclid. Scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, ham and bacon will be served for $5 per person paid at the door with all proceeds benefiting We Give Thanks, a charity annually providing Thanksgiving dinners for thousands of needy people.

Sponsorship support this year comes from Garden Grove Tourism Promotion Corporation, Dyson, Clear Channel Outdoors, California Center For Sustainable Energy (CCSE), Credit Union of Southern California, McDonalds, Care Ambulance Service, Sam’s Club, Costco, Garden Grove Hospital, Brandywine Homes, Garden Grove Secured Storage, Allspace Storage, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Suites and Casa Garcia. Media sponsors include Parenting OC, OC News and its Community Newspapers, OC Weekly, Garden Grove Journal, Korea Times, El Panamericano, Farandula USA, Miniondas, Nguoi Viet Daily News, and radio stations 103.4 MYfm, KOST, JACK FM, KLYY Jose 97.5 FM, KSSE 107.1 FM Super Estrella, KABC, KLOS, KDAY-FM, KWVE, KSWB 100.3fm The Sound LA, KWIZ La Rockola, AIR1 Radio, Radiocentro 93.9, KEARTH 101, and Radio Disney.

The Festival has donated over $6.5 million to local charities since 1958. For more information, visit www.strawberryfestival.orgl