When the city named for its big arroyo decides to throw a party, everybody comes! This weekend is the annual Strawberry Festival in the Village of Arroyo Grande (the village is the old town portion of the city shown in photo) and that means it is party time. Sunset magazine called the city’s annual Strawberry Festival one of the best events in the West to celebrate Memorial Weekend and though the charming Central Coast destination has some tough competition with Garden Grove annual Strawberry Parade and Festival held the same weekend, as well, it doesn’t hurt attendance one bit.
The Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival is the city’s biggest event each year celebrating a fruit that is grown locally. Just down the road from Arroyo Grande in a Nipomo and Santa Maria, commercial strawberry growers enjoy healthy, huge strawberry crops annually, and you can even pick your own big red berries seasonally.
If you decide to visit Arroyo Grande, there are not many hotels in the city (only two or three) but right next door is the hotel mecca–Pismo Beach. Definitely book a room in Pismo and stay at the beach if you can. The drive from Pismo Beach to the festival is only five to ten minutes, and who doesn’t love a beach vacation?
Arroyo Grande, itself, combines old and new. The Strawberry Festival is held in the Village where you’ll find an historic Swinging Bridge you can walk across at the Village Green. Yet just along the I-101 Highway is a shopping complex with Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, Marshalls, K-Mart, and many other chain stores and shopping.
Arroyo Grande also features some beautiful back roads with gorgeous wineries and wine tasting opportunities. If you don’t make it to the mega-fest this weekend, the city celebrates its centennial this year and will have many events to enjoy such as a free summer concert series. The Village lets you roll back the clock to an old-fashioned experience you may not get in urban areas. See arroyograndevillage.org