The Little Miss Strawberry contestants excitedly primp their pink dresses and adjust their sparkling tiaras in anticipation of the pageant’s beginning. The lighthearted event—in which girls compete in five different age groupings—is one of many novel attractions at BerryFest. A Mother's Day–weekend tradition, the 2012 festival marks the year's harvest by bringing together local farmers with a host of vendors, sponsors, entertainment acts, and conciliatory deer families at the Placer County Fairgrounds.
Daytime revelers can indulge in a surplus of diverse, certified-organic berries, which can be purchased whole or in the form of inventive, strawberry-based eats such as strawberry pizza, strawberry barbecue sauce, or strawberry-flavored strawberries. The festival’s lineup of booths also includes a beer garden where Lost Coast Brewery whets patrons’ whistles with strawberry drafts. A no-hands shortcake-eating contest crowns the winner with a commemorative trophy and proceeds benefit the Boy Scouts of America. During a live cooking demonstration, TV star Michael Marks of Your Produce Man shares recipe tips as well as tips for catching runaway piecrusts. On Sunday, festival-goers can take in a car show with a gathering of shiny, classic wheels, and all weekend long, kids can kick it on the Fun Zone’s Berry-Go-Round or drop by the event’s on-site petting zoo.