The long-awaited 62nd Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Celebrating Essential Workers triumphantly returned May 27-30, 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the global health pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the festival grounds day and night to celebrate Memorial Day weekend and the long-awaited return of Garden Grove’s beloved festival.
Immediately prior to the opening of the festival on May 27th, a joyful private event was held on Thursday May 26th, the special Children’s Day, hosted by Festival Director Dr. Dawn Miller and bused 2,000 children with special needs into the festival site to enjoy rides and lunch, courtesy of the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Association and generous vendors who donated food, drinks and special gifts for the children. Great Wolf Lodge’s Wiley Wolf, the Strawberry Festival mascot, and a selection of costumed superheroes, courtesy of the OC Autism Foundation, made special appearances to the delight of the children.
Then on Friday afternoon, May 27th, the Tiny Tots King and Queen 2022, Connor H. and Maggie W., were crowned. Heidi Levesque, the Director of Strawberry Festival competitions, has announced the winners of the other competitions of the 2022 festival as follows:
Berry, Berry, Beautiful Baby Contest Winners:
3 months to 1 year old:
– Best smile
– Best Smile: Penelope R.
– Best Hair: Celine S.
– Best eyes and overall winner: Journi S.
23 years old:
– Best Smile: Aleah R.
– Best eyes and overall winner: Liam G.
Redhead Roundup Contest Winners:
– Redhead Baby: Hayden P.
– Redhead Toddlers: Natalie P.
– Cutest Redhead: Mia R.
– Redhead Teen: Jazzlyn C.
– Most Beautiful Redhead: Mikayla P.
– Classy Redhead: Heather D.
– Redhead with the most freckles: Croz T.
– Strawberry Blonde: Jackson S.
Brick Build Contest Winners:
5-7 years old:
– Best Presentation on Subject: Abigail C.
– Most Creative: Susan F.
8-11 years old:
Best presentation of the subject and most creative: Savvy S.
– Best presentation of topic and most creative: Aaron T.
The 62nd annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival officially kicked off on Friday night, May 27, when French Stewart (“Third Rock From The Sun”, “Inspector Gadget 2”) hosted the official strawberry shortcake cutting ceremony, hosted by festival director Laura Neuschafer was organized. where 2,500 slices of a 70 foot Strawberry Shortcake made by French’s Bakery of Costa Mesa, California were served FREE to the public in attendance. Others in attendance posing for photos and conducting interviews in front of a step and repeat banner at the event were: Kathy Garver, Parade Celebrity Grand Marshal, Tom DaRé, Parade Theme Grand Marshal, Pat Catlin, President of the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Association . Topanga Scherf, Miss Garden Grove 2022 and other parade celebrities.
On Saturday morning, May 28th, following a VIP pancake breakfast also hosted by French Stewart and organized by Festival Director Sue Catlin, the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Association hosted a parade led by David Sarell of Pageantry Parades, themed “Celebrating Essentials Workers.” Kathy Garver (“Family Affair”) served as Parade Celebrity Grand Marshal, and Tom DaRé (Garden Grove City Sheriff) served as Parade Theme Grand Marshal. This year’s parade and festival was held in loving memory of the deceased and loved one Presented by Lieutenant John Reynolds of the Garden Grove Police Department.The parade included bands, riders, novelty and vintage Jaguar cars.
Among the participants in the famous parade were: Neile Adams McQueen, Madison Neile McQueen, Chase McQueen, French Stewart, Vanessa Claire Stewart, Evan Lê, Pyper Braun, Rosalyn Bryant Clark, Breanna Clark, Scott Travis, Michael David, Cathi Parrish, Topanga Scherf , Raena Ramirez and the Strawberry Fest Mascot.
Key workers and community heroes honored at the parade included: Lieutenant Brian Dalton of the Garden Grove Police Department; Deputy Chief Amir El-Farra of the Garden Grove Police Department; Tricia Chinn of the Garden Grove Unified School District; David Moreno-Guardado of the Garden Grove Unified School District; Captain Christian Caswell of the Orange County Fire Authority; Efrain Flores of RJ Allen, Inc., Rafael Robles of the City of Garden Grove; Victoria Casillas of the City of Garden Grove; Republic Services’ Carlene Weaver; Maria Nena Forrester of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Garden Grove; Leeann Dotson from Ralph; Jim Nguyen of the Acacia Center for Healthy Aging; James Webb of Falck Ambulance; Costco’s Corey Bear Harkless; Office Depot’s Sharon L. Torres; and Linda Morin, City of Garden Grove Emergency Response Coordinator.
Elected officials taking part in the parade included: Steve Jones, Mayor of Garden Grove; Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen, Pro-Tem Mayor of Garden Grove; Supervisor Andrew Do, Orange County Board of Supervisors; Senator Tom Umberg, District 34; Rep. Tom Daly, 69th District; Rep. Janet Nguyen, 72nd District; Congressman Lou Correa, Congressional District 46; Congresswoman Michelle Steel, 48th District; Supervisor Katrina Foley, District 2, Orange County Board of Supervisors, George S. Brietigam III, Garden Grove Councilman; John R. O’Neill, Garden Grove Alderman; Garden Grove City Councilor Kim Nguyen; Patrick Phat Bui, Garden Grove Alderman; Stephanie Klopfenstein, Garden Grove City Councilman and Scott Stiles, Garden Grove City Manager.
Eight 2022 graduating seniors who participated in the parade, representing eight different high schools in the Garden Grove Unified School District, were: Jamie Pham, Bolsa Grande High School; Truc Pho, Garden, Garden Grove High School; Lizette Sevilla, Marie L. Hare High School; Alejandro Gomez, La Quinta High School; Jennifer Ngoe Le, Los Amigos High School; Di Nguyen, Pacifica High School; Holly Tran, Rancho Alamitos High School and Jenny Ngo, Santiago High School. Each student received a $1,000 check and plaque from the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Association to continue their education at universities and colleges of their choice.
This year’s festival featured 153 vendor and food booths, including 12 Civic Non-Profit Game Booths raising funds for various charities, six Carnival Game Booths, 33 Carnival Rides, five bands, a DJ and a dance troupe.
This year’s 62nd Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival 40 sponsors included: Petersen Automotive Museum, Jaguar Owner’s Club, Clear Channel Outdoor, Garden Amphitheater, OutFront, Republic Services, Great Wolf Lodges, K-WAVE 107.9 FM, Orange County News, Event – News Enterprise, Sun Newspapers, Orange County’s Credit Union, Air 1, Residence Inn Anaheim Resort Area Garden Grove, Los Angeles Times, Pacific Coachways, Sheraton Park Hotel im Anaheim Resort, The Orange County Register, Savor Stone Hearth Pizza & Wine, Widdicombe Enterprises Inc./McDonald’s, The Country Register, Healthy Aging Center Acacia, School News Roll Call, Delta Hotels Marriott Anaheim/Garden Grove, HomeLight, Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce, Little Saigon Television, The City of Garden Grove, Garden Grove TV3, Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove, The Orange County Tribune, La Casa García, Butler Amusements, Inc., Vice Markus Concessions – Hemet, CA, Fruit Caboose, StrackGround, Kiwanis Club of Gar the Grov e, Olde Lemonade Tyme, Miniondas and Costco from Garden Grove.
The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival is an annual 501(c)(3) FREE non-profit event hosted by the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Association, a dedicated volunteer group that has raised more than $7 million since its inception in 1958 raised for various charities The live festival did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. The festival’s mission and goal is to give back to the community serving the citizens of Garden Grove by donating to nonprofit organizations that provide services to children, seniors, youth and the community and support the arts. To find out more and get updates on this year’s festival, please visit www.strawberryfestival.org