TR Robertson– Vista, CA… The streets of Downtown Historic Vista were filled once again with thousands of people of all ages wandering, tasting, watching, and experiencing the festivities that make up the Vista Strawberry Festival. This annual event, celebrating the 9th year in existence, is sponsored by the Vista Chamber of Commerce and presented by Tri-City Medical Center, and has grown each year, this year covering every street in the downtown area, including running down a two block section of S. Santa Fe Drive.
Photos by TR Robertson
The festival began with a series of running events, starting off with a 10K, this year with over 500 runners participating. Following this is a 5K, with over 1,700 runners taking part. There are also races for kids, a ¼ mile run for 6-9 year olds and a 1 mile race for 10-12 year olds. A total of over 500 young people ran in these events. Each race was led by Buzz from Quality Lock and Security Services on his bicycle. The race ended just passed Citrus, on Main Street, with runners ending up in the grass fields along Citrus. Activities awaited the runners along with numerous food and gifts, including a bag of strawberries. Next to this area, a Kids Zone featured rides, similar to those in the San Diego County Fair, which begins this week. The ReMax balloon also offered a short aerial assent above the Festival.
Video by Daniel Thomas
Photos by TR Robertson
Five stages provided entertainment throughout the day. Bands, ranging from rock to blues and much more, filled the streets with sound. Also on the stages, a variety of demonstrations were presented where the audience could see young and old show off their skills in dance, karate, short plays, and other activities. The Flag Pavilion Stage was sponsored by Edward Jones Investing, the Crozier’s flower Stage was sponsored by SDG&E, the Beer Garden Stage was sponsored by Empowered Firearms, the Rising Star Stage was sponsored by Brightwood College and the Acoustic Stage was sponsored by Autotrader.
Photos by Philippe Carre www.bountyphotographie.com
The Main Contest Stage, sponsored by Tri-City Medical Center, also included performances and a number of contests. The Kainga Steel Pan Drum Band kicked things off at 8:30 am followed by the awarding of medals to runners in the different age group categories for the different races. The overall winner of the 10K was Josh Espinoza. He also came in second in the 5K. The 5K overall winner was Mathew Seat. The Main Stage was also the scene of the Pie Eating contest sponsored by Sunrise Café, the Lil Miss Strawberry Shortcake Contest, the Strawberry Hat Contest sponsored by T Mobile and the Costume Contest. The costume contest was won by Marquis Lewis in a Captain America outfit and Melissa Miller in a stylish Strawberry themed outfit. Both individuals had taken part in the 5K run. The Avo Theatre was the scene of a Vista’s Got Talent event, sponsored by Moonlight and a Video Contest sponsored by Window World. At the Beer Garden, a Beer Stein Holding Contest was sponsored, at three different times, by EDCO.
Wandering the streets of downtown Vista, festival attendees were treated to what they would soon be seeing if they attended the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. The streets were filled with tents selling every kind of food, gift items, ceramics, art, clothing, leather goods, trinkets, jewelry, candy, and much more. There were also tents with different agencies featured, from Vista Parks and Recs to Vista City Government, candidates for different offices, different groups featuring information about their purpose and medical information. Some of these included Wounded Warriors, SoCal Volleyball Club, Learn to Sew, a variety of chiropractors, a free massage tent, Alzheimer’s Research, home improvement companies, just to name and point out a few. Marshmallow Shooters were a most unusual item on sale. TheVistaPress.com tent offered a chance to spin and win different prizes.
The food choices were too numerous to mention all available. Strawberry Shortcake was on sale at a number of tents, including one tent that also offered Strawberry Dessert Nachos as well as chocolate dipped strawberries. Several food tents were very popular, Taste of Poland and Rollswisserie Gourmet Rotisserie, had long lines waiting for their orders. Just Made Cupcakes offered mini delicious cupcakes. Dolce Monachelli’s sold an amazing assortment of cakes in a variety of flavors. Will’s Waffles was a popular breakfast stop.
Photos by Daniel Thomas
A popular stopping point for those attending was visiting with the firemen of Vista Fire Department 4107 and a chance to sit in and see up close one of the fire engines. Not far from this area, on S. Santa Fe, was a large play area with a number of fun activities festival goers could take part in by purchasing tickets.
The Strawberry Festival has become a tradition many people look forward to each Memorial Day weekend. Visitors come from all over San Diego County and beyond to attend this event. Downtown Historic Vista is becoming well known throughout Southern California for a number of reasons. The Strawberry Festival has become another well-known activity for the City of Vista and another reason Vista is one of the leading cities in all of San Diego County.