CA Strawberry Festival: Accessibility Review

25 May 2017

This last weekend, the much anticipated California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard took place and boy was it the happening place in town!

Thanks to Lisa Carey Public Relations and the California Strawberry Festival, I was able to bring you first hand details about how comfortable and realistic it is to attend the festival as someone in a wheelchair.

Accessibility Rating: B+



To start off, you are given the option to park and use one of their courtesy shuttles (thanks to Sleep Number) at one of 5 locations. Thanks to a recommendation from Yelp I chose the closest parking lot (Santa Clara High School) where there was ample parking on Sunday at 11am (an hour after the festival had opened for the day).

We parked and headed to the shuttle bus where the driver told us she would radio for a handicap bus and it would be a 20 minute wait. Since I had previously mentioned the possibility in my earlier post my family and I were not surprised. What did surprise us was that at the shuttle stop at Santa Clara High School there was no volunteer to answer questions and direct folks. Also, there was no canopy or place for folks to wait, without sweltering under the sun, during those 20 minute waits.

Finally the accessible shuttle pulled up and it had room for 6 wheelchairs if necessary and 6 additional passengers. Another man and myself were in wheelchairs and our families took up all 3 additional bench seats. Our fabulous driver, Rene, explained that sometimes he has to ask families and friends to ride in the regular shuttle and meet everyone at the shuttle stop outside the festival.

A special shout out to our driver, Rene, who was extremely friendly, helpful and an all around great driver. This was his first time volunteering at the Strawberry Festival but he also drives at the Ventura County Fair where he drives one of the larger non-accessible buses.


Finally we made our way inside the festival where we were happy to see that there were wide walkways (pavement), an abundance of volunteers picking up trash, numerous trash and recycle cans, and several long rows of port-a-potties that each included a couple large facilities for handicap individuals. The port-a-potty alleys also included wash-up facilities.

The only downside would be that you have to use your foot to turn on the water to wash-up and that can be a problem for folks who are in wheelchairs and/or using walkers.
There were quite a few bumps in the road due to wiring, etc. but thankfully there was a single accessible ramp in the center of each bump for wheelchairs. Unfortunately, because it was crowded and folks were impatient and/or not looking where they were going, often the ramp was being walked on by folks who did not need the additional assistance making it impossible to use. My dad often enough had to turn my wheelchair around so he could maneuver me over the bump (sans a ramp). Also at one point, we even saw volunteers had set up a table right on top of the ramp! Whoops, obviously that was a mistake but very frustrating for folks who would benefit from said ramp.

Before we wrap this post up, can't forget to mention the strawberries! There were several well-marked stations where you could buy organic and regular strawberries from local farmers. Oxnard is certainly known for its strawberries so I doubt anyone who bought a flat was disappointed.

Also there were plenty of different strawberry food and drink options. The consensus among my family was that the strawberry lemonade was too watered down, the strawberry Moscato wine from Herzog Wine Cellars was A++ delicious, and the $5 Make Your Own Strawberry Shortcake was a fun way to end the day.

Next year will be the festival's 35th event so I cannot even begin to imagine what great things are in store for 2018. Be sure to keep an eye out for information about the festival when it comes around next May and for those who were scared away by the crowds rest assured that the festival committee has done a good job of expanding the boundaries of the festival to allow for more foot traffic.

And for those who are wheelchair-bound and/or need to use walkers and other ambulatory assistance -- you can rest assured that they are thinking of us and have tried to make it as comfortable for us as it is for our families and friends. Hopefully though they will consider a better way of marking ramps for accessible use and perhaps also another way to pedal the water at the wash-up stations near the toilets?

All in all though it is a fun day out with the family or gaggle of friends! Many thanks again to Lisa Carey Public Relations and the California Strawberry Festival for the chance to visit the festival and for making it an accessible festival for all.

x Joy

P.S. All photos and opinions are my own.

Accessible: California Strawberry Festival

19 May 2017

HI folks! Happy Friday...
Who is excited about this weekend's California Strawberry Festival? Me, me, me! :D

(c) CA Strawberry Festival.
For those of you who are concerned and curious about whether the festival is accessible, here is the information I have found thus far. [Please keep in mind that this is my first time too so I am going off of information I searched the site for.]

According to the website:
The festival is handicapped accessible.
Wheelchairs are NOT available for rent on the premises.
(c) CA Strawberry Festival.
Handicap accessible shuttles are available.
I have learned that if a patron needs a handicapped bus they go to the shuttle stop and the bus will radio for a handicapped bus to come. They have handicapped buses but they are on various routes. If one is not on that route they will radio another one to accommodate.

According to the "festival policy", the park area includes grass, wood chips and dirt pathways.

Don't forget your sun protection, cash, and a fun going spirit and I am sure we'll all have a fabulous time. Enjoy xo

(c) CA Strawberry Festival.
Dates: May 20 and 21
Times: 10am - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Strawberry Meadows of College Park in Oxnard, CA (3250 South Rose Avenue)
Tickets: For more information go online to see prices and buy your tickets in advance
Parking: Free Park & Ride “Strawberry Express” shuttles from multiple convenient locations off the 101 freeway makes getting there a breeze. There ARE handicap accessible shuttles!!!
Amtrak California offers a special Kids Ride Free promotion Festival weekend.
Parking is also available on site for $10.

#ChronicPain: Must Have Pants

16 May 2017

(c) Champion.
are you in chronic pain like me? do you suffer from trouble walking and getting your legs in pants? if so, I have an excellent option and it's fairly inexpensive so win -win!

Champion's women jersey banded knee pants have two pockets, are made of cotton (some colors do have some polyester in the material), have a draw cord for adjustability, are machine washable, and fall on me (5'2") right below my knee similar to the stock photo.

I love these pants and have them in both Oxford Gray and Black. They are comfy enough for lounging around the house, wear well to physical therapy, and not tacky enough when I have to go to the doctor's office or am joining a friend for a cuppa.

So if you are in the same boat as myself, do yourself a favor and check out Champion's jersey banded knee pants. xo

Salivating: CA Strawberry Festival

It's May and here in Southern California that means time to start salivating in time for the California Strawberry Festival happening May 20-21!!!!!! I know I personally cannot wait to visit my first California Strawberry Festival on Sunday...

For my fellow foodies...
(c) California Strawberry Festival.
Imagine with me (if you dare)... strawberry funnel cake, strawberry crepes, chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberry nachos, deep-fried strawberries, strawberry smoothies and margaritas, the “build your own” strawberry shortcake tent and strawberry popcorn!!
(c) California Strawberry Festival.
Indulge guilt free, because with each bite the non-profit food booths reap 100% of sales for their causes. The formula has proven to be a fruitful enterprise. Over the past three decades more than $4.5 million dollars has benefitted more than 20 southland charities including The Salvation Army and Ventura Teen Challenge.
(c) California Strawberry Festival.
So mark your calendars in case it passed your attention, grab a wad of cash (food tents only take cash; there is an ATM on site) and your appetites! See you there! xo
Dates: May 20 and 21
Times: 10am - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Strawberry Meadows of College Park in Oxnard, CA (3250 South Rose Avenue)
Tickets: For more information go online to see prices and buy your tickets in advance
Parking: Free Park & Ride “Strawberry Express” shuttles from multiple convenient locations off the 101 freeway makes getting there a breeze. There ARE handicap accessible shuttles!!!
Amtrak California offers a special Kids Ride Free promotion Festival weekend.
Parking is also available on site for $10.

Z is for Zebras

30 April 2017

For my 2017 challenge, I was not sure quite what I wanted to blog about. Numerous ideas were coming to mind but each seemed to require even more energy and strength. So I've decided to focus on an acronym for ART:
A - Artists (musicians, painters, photographers, writers, etc.)
R - Reading (books, poems, etc.)
T - Theater (movies, musicals, plays, etc.)

On our last day (!) we'll be focusing on ZEBRAs.


A - ZSL London Zoo
One of my favorite photos taken at the London Zoo in 2014.
Zebras (c) the Joyous Living
R -
What a creative title for an alphabet book.


T - Zootopia
The first time I've seen the Zebra being the bad guy. Boo...
Zootopia (c) Disney Studios
It's been a fun challenge this year and as always many thanks to all my lovely visitors and fellow bloggers/writers for visiting the site. Don't be strangers! xo

Y is for... Yesterday

29 April 2017


For my 2017 challenge, I was not sure quite what I wanted to blog about. Numerous ideas were coming to mind but each seemed to require even more energy and strength. So I've decided to focus on an acronym for ART:
A - Artists (musicians, painters, photographers, writers, etc.)
R - Reading (books, poems, etc.)
T - Theater (movies, musicals, plays, etc.)

Today we're focusing on...

Yesterday

A - Yolanda Adams
Last year, I loved Tyler Perry's The Passion that featured Gospel's one and only Yolanda Adams.


R - Quotes Starting with "Y"
Last year, Courtney (Maui Jungalow) shared with me the quote "Yesterday ended at midnight." It has stuck with me this long year.

T - YouTube Videos
Last year, I discovered Kathie Lee Gifford's "Without You" song about adoption that has stayed in my heart and touched the hearts of my adoptive mom and other adoptees/ers that I know.

National Day: Superheroes and Biological Clocks

28 April 2017

Lets face it... there are way too many "national holidays" such as "National Cubicle Day" or "National No Homework Day".

But let's have some fun and address today's national days, okay?

April 28:

National Superhero Day
That's an easy one...
Michael Keaton IS the ONLY Batman. Nuff said.

National Biological Clock Day
Thanks a lot to whomever was the dodo bird who created this day...

National Workers Memorial Day
I had a relative who died in the mines several generations ago ...


National Kiss Your Mate Day:
Hmmm and what about us who don't have a mate? Does kissing my dog count? :D

Happy April 28! <3

X is for... Children

For my 2017 challenge, I was not sure quite what I wanted to blog about. Numerous ideas were coming to mind but each seemed to require even more energy and strength. So I've decided to focus on an acronym for ART:
A - Artists (musicians, painters, photographers, writers, etc.)
R - Reading (books, poems, etc.)
T - Theater (movies, musicals, plays, etc.)

Today we're focusing on...

X and Children

A - Xul Solar
Jefa by Xul Solar.
R - Xander's Panda Party
I love children's books and the illustrations by Matt Phelan in this one are delightful.


T - Spot Marks the X
When I was a kid, the 1986 movie, Spot Marks the X, was an all-time favorite. I don't think it's available on Amazon or Netflix but someone has uploaded the movie to YouTube.

W is for... Women

27 April 2017

For my 2017 challenge, I was not sure quite what I wanted to blog about. Numerous ideas were coming to mind but each seemed to require even more energy and strength. So I've decided to focus on an acronym for ART:
A - Artists (musicians, painters, photographers, writers, etc.)
R - Reading (books, poems, etc.)
T - Theater (movies, musicals, plays, etc.)

Today we're focusing on...

Women.

A - 
I love paintings and photographs of women who are dancing. Such grace and beauty.

R -
This is one of my favorite Poirot novels because it is when Captain Hastings (whom I named my dog after) meets the love of his life, "Cinderella". And lets admit, who among us wasn't a bit sad he was taken off the market? Gotta love ourselves some Poirot with his eccentricities and Captain Hastings with his gentlemanly goodness.
 

T - 
The Women (1939) has to be one of my favorite ensemble pieces with such wittiness and an incredible ensemble of Hollywood's best.
OnThe Women (1939).

V is for... Vintage Posts.

26 April 2017

For my 2017 challenge, I was not sure quite what I wanted to blog about. Numerous ideas were coming to mind but each seemed to require even more energy and strength. So I've decided to focus on an acronym for ART:
A - Artists (musicians, painters, photographers, writers, etc.)
R - Reading (books, poems, etc.)
T - Theater (movies, musicals, plays, etc.)

Today we're focusing on...

"Vintage" posts.

A - "Victims"
Last year, I posted about Jeffrey Baldwin and the beautiful bronze sculpture that Canadian Todd Bryce made in his honor.
R - guide to shopping VINTAGE
In April 2015, I wrote a book review about Alison Freer's How To Get Dressed and chapter 12 just happens to be about 'a guide to shopping Vintage'.


T - Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
In 2014, I visited Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens with my girlfriend N to see a summer concert featuring music by Handel, Rossini, Holst, etc. If you ever get a chance to go for a picnic and concert, do yourself a favor and go! :D


Fifty Shades: MAC Lipcolour

25 April 2017

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele. (c) Fifty Shades Darker.
Be honest... Are you as in love with Dakota Johnson's gorgeous lippy colors from Fifty Shades Darker as I am? IMO she is STUNNING in that above photo and at the top of my 'most beautiful women list'. Salivate no longer... You can get your own 5 ml. tube of this deep true red color at your local MAC store.
Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour/Feels So Grand.
And for those of you who were as curious as me about the first movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, you can now watch the edited version on the USA Network (aka - no F words and no genital/nipple nudity but there is definitely one steamy scene when Christian 'fixes' Ana's situation. :D

x

U is for... Universal

For my 2017 challenge, I was not sure quite what I wanted to blog about. Numerous ideas were coming to mind but each seemed to require even more energy and strength. So I've decided to focus on an acronym for ART:
A - Artists (musicians, painters, photographers, writers, etc.)
- Reading (books, poems, etc.)
T - Theater (movies, musicals, plays, etc.)

Today we're focusing on...


Universal works of art that resonate with many cultures.

A - MOSES, the prophet

In Islam:
Asiya finds Moses. 
In Russian Orthodoxy:
Moses and the Burning Bush.

In Western Christianity:
Moses and the Ten Commandments. Rembrandt.

R - The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky

T - Romeo Et Juliette: de la Haine à l'Amour


in French w/ English subtitles:

In Russian:

In Hungarian:

In English (the failed UK production):

Enjoy!

T is for... A Tale of Two Cities

24 April 2017

For my 2017 challenge, I was not sure quite what I wanted to blog about. Numerous ideas were coming to mind but each seemed to require even more energy and strength. So I've decided to focus on an acronym for ART:
A - Artists (musicians, painters, photographers, writers, etc.)
- Reading (books, poems, etc.)
T - Theater (movies, musicals, plays, etc.)

Today we're focusing on...

TALE OF TWO CITIES, one of my all time favorite musicals/plays/movies/books :D

A... Storming of the Bastille by Jean-Pierre Houel (1789)

R... Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

T... My favorite Sydneys in no particular order!
Ronald Colman (film)

Charles Dance (radio)

James Barbour (theater)
(also be sure to check out my other James Barbour video highlight under "J is for...".

S is for... SISTER ACT!

22 April 2017

We interrupt our normal broadcast to present a rave review about Cabrillo Music Theatre's Sister Act the Musical!!!
I am still smiling from ear to ear thinking about the amazing experience I enjoyed last night at the production's opening night. The cast, led by Daebreon Poiema as Doloris Van Cartier, was spectacular! Not a single weak link... Since most of us have seen the beloved 1992 film starring Maggie Smith and Whoopi I will skip the description and move right on to all the great highlights of the show...

Photo by Ed Krieger.
Where to begin? How about the fabulous set design provided by The Music and Theatre Company? The set was for the most part empty of unnecesary props and backdrops that could be distracting to the action and singers on stage. Instead there were a few token pieces such as a table, desk and dining table and several banner/backdrops that represented everything from a bar to the convent.

Similarly, props must go to the costumes that were provided by Tuachan Center for the Arts, Utah. In particular, Curtis' henchmen (David Kirk Grant, John Paul Batista & Kenneth Mosley) made the most of their 70s inspired costumes. And their chemistry together was especially highlighted during their 2nd act number, "Lady in the Long Black Dress", that had the audience roaring with laughter.

Daebreon Poiema & Debbie Prutsman. Photo by Ed Krieger.
Speaking of chemistry, actors Daebreon Poiema and Debbie Prutsman were terrific as Doloris and Mother Superior during their comical interactions. And be assured our leading ladies were radiant and strong of voice. They captivated the audience every time they raised their voices! Specifically, "Raise Your Voice", "Here Within These Walls" and "Sister Act" had the audience putting their hands together until they were too tired to continue.

Other highlights in the cast were: Chelsea Morgan Stock as Mary Robert, Fracesca Barletta as Sister Patrick, Wilkie Ferguson III as Eddie (Doloris' love interest), Dedrik Bonner as Curtis, David Gilchrist as Monsignor O'Hara, and Karla J. Franko as Sister Lazarus.

Wilkie Ferguson III, Daebreon Poiema. Photo by Ed Krieger.
Honestly there was no weak link so it is hard to point out highlights without thinking of the cast as a whole. In fact I don't think the show would have been nearly as infectious and fabulous without the nun ensemble that included local favorites such as Natalia Vivino ("Yonah" in Cabrillo's Children of Edenand Lakeisha Renee Houston ("Felicia" in Cabrillo's Memphis).

When Poiema and the nuns were "getting the rafters ringing" during their rousing gospel numbers, the show truly came alive and the audience was cheering them along vocally and with what seemed like non-stop clapping. I was almost sad to be leaving the theater after the exhilarating closing number "Spread The Love Around".

Daebreon Poiema and Nuns. Photo by Ed Krieger.
Additional praise has to be laid at the feet of Director Misti B. Wills and Choreographer Michelle Elkin. The group gospel numbers, Ferguson's "I Could Be That Guy", and the henchmen's "Lady In the Long Black Dress" were fabulously arranged making full use of the stage and the Thousand Oaks' Civic Arts Plaza's acoustics. And the two chase scenes were two of the best scenes thanks to the great choreography and direction by Willis and Elkin.

So what are you waiting for? Sister Act is an A+ production and a great highlight of Cabrillo Music Theatre's 2016-2017 season! You will surely be searching for the London cast recording so you can keep singing along long after the show.
Yours truly with my friend during intermission.
If you would like to catch Sister Act at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, there are still 7 more performances: Now through 30 April 2017.

Tickets: $34-$79, Ticketmaster or Box Office
Location: Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks, Thousand OaksCA 91362
Parking: $8 (cash only)
Appropriate Ages: All ages! (There are a few uses of colorful language and the violence that happens is mainly implied.)
 

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