Galt's largest strawberry shortcake will be devoured, first by police officers and firefighters, and then by a bunch of hungry bears Friday morning to kick off this weekend's Galt Strawberry Festival.
In addition to the strawberry shortcake, Friday's festivities will include the Running of the Berries, featuring several people dressed in strawberry outfits. Children in kindergarten through third grade from Fairsite Elementary School tear the berries off the costumes. Participants will include Mayor Darryl Clare, Vice Mayor Randy Shelton and City Councilman Tom Malson.
Friday's festivities will begin at 8 a.m. and will be repeated at noon. Following each session, any remaining strawberry shortcake will be delivered to the Performing Animal Welfare Society on Simmerhorn Road, where hungry bears will devour a morning dessert.
The event will be a fundraiser for the Galt Boys and Girls Club, a non-profit organization that provides youth programs in Galt.
While Friday marks the kickoff, the festival itself will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Veterans Soccer Field at Caroline and Chabolla avenues. It is sponsored by the Galt District Chamber of Commerce and the chamber's Economic Development Task Force.
The festival will include children's activities, strawberry-related food booths, entertainment and vendors selling their wares.
Highlighting the entertainment will be Alexis Lopez, a contestant on the "American Idol" TV series, who will perform at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Lopez, a 19-year-old singer from Modesto, just missed being one of the 10 finalists in last year's "American Idol" talent competition.
In addition to her Saturday morning concert, Lopez will be grand marshal for the Running of the Berries on Friday.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and include civic leaders and members of the Galt Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
The festival will feature a section for small children, including slot-car racing, a bounce house, a tea-cup ride, a 100-foot-long inflatable slide 30 feet high, a rock wall and a Jurassic Park fun house.
People of all ages may engage in a water balloon fight with a sling shot for a small fee. It's open throughout both days whenever two people want to sling water balloons at each other.
"Once you get the timing down, you're able to hit them every time," said Rex Albright, the chamber's chief executive officer.
Tickets for the festival are $5 for adults and teens, and $3 for senior citizens. Children under 12 are free. There will be free parking.
On Saturday, visitors may take a 45-minute tour at the PAWS sanctuary, 11435 Simmerhorn Road, at either 11 a.m. or noon. Admission is $7 for adults and teens, which includes the PAWS tour and admission to the Strawberry Festival. Senior citizens may take the tour and go to the festival for $5, while children 12 and under will be admitted for free.
For more information, call the chamber office at 745-2529.