Dear Mr. K:

Thank you for your email. It's always important to hear about negative experiences along with the positive, both to keep everything in perspective and to constantly improve. To alleviate some of your frustration and inconvenience, I would like to offer you four complimentary tickets to the 2004 Festival so you will have an opportunity to experience a more positive visit to the Festival.

Each year following the Festival, the all-volunteer Executive Board comes together along with various sponsors and contractors to critique our performance. We take all constructive criticism and assess whether it is feasible for the Board to effect change and assign Board Members responsible for effecting the changes. Your comments will be noted in our upcoming meeting and will definitely be given weight when we discuss our traffic, parking, and line challenges.

The 18-member volunteer Executive Board of community members from a number of communities within Ventura County is the steward of the Festival, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation. The Executive Board's mission remains the same as its founders' 20 years ago: to enhance area's appeal by focusing on its rich agricultural heritage and hospitality industry during its annual family-oriented festival of entertainment, local agricultural products and crafts, and to provide charitable assistance to community non-profit organizations from the proceeds. Conservatively, since its inception, the Festival has given upwards of $2 million dollars back into the community.

We are extremely proud of the part the Festival has played in providing our immediate and extended communities the opportunity to receive much-needed funds. Each year upwards of twenty non-profit organizations are given space to sell food and drinks at the Festival. Other than the space fee, all of their proceeds go to the organization's programs that reach out into their communities. In addition, all of the Coke and Budweiser booths, as well as the Wine Pavilion, Strawberry Beer booth, and the Strawberry Shortcake tent are staffed by non-profit organizations that in return receive a stipend. In addition, Oxnard's City Corp provides the clean-up services. Our website offers a partial list of organizations who have benefited from being part of the Festival this year. Please visit it at for more information.

Any of the net proceeds the Festival receives above the budgeted amount for the next year's Festival goes to scholarships. This year the Festival has pledged $25,000 to the newest UC campus at Channel Islands. Each year, the Festival awards the Dr. Kato Memorial Scholarship in memory of our founder, Dr. Tsujio Kato. We also contribute to the Continuing Educational Scholarship Fund of the California Strawberry Commission.

A requirement of each of these scholarships is that the recipient or one parent must work or have worked in the strawberry industry. Many of our recipients' parents are those who work or worked in the strawberry fields. In addition, we have pledged $40,000 to Oxnard College. We are looking into additional ways in which the Festival can give back to the community.

In addition, according to the International Festivals and Events Association, the Festival's estimated economic impact on the immediate and surrounding communities was $7.5 million in 2002.

If I can answer any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. And if you take me up on the offer for free tickets to next year's Festival, please give me your address and come early on Saturday to avoid the inconvenience and frustration you experienced this year.

Festival Manager
California Strawberry Festival

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