Cal Poly hosts strawberry festival

Ontario resident Francis Rowlands added rubber to the outer rim of his four-wheel drive Massey-Harris general-purpose tractor to be able to drive it short distances on roads without tearing up the pavement. Rowlands bought the 1930s tractor in Missouri and had it shipped to California. He said it was the first model Massey-Harris made, but the company only sold for a few years because they were not very well designed and leaked oil. Under the seat and steering wheel are levers that horses can be tied to. / photo by Helen Arase

Liz Ortiz
Staff Writer

Antique farm steam engines chirped loudly and classic cars revved their engines to show off at Cal Poly Pomona’s eighth annual Tractor and Car Show and Strawberry Festival last Saturday.

The event showcased antique farm tools, classic cars and tractors along side fossilized butterflies and other insects.

Families were invited to gather and pick strawberries from the field, while children begged their parents to let them ride the ponies and pet the pigs in the petting zoo.

“This event brings out the best of the community,” Steve Cummins, a car show participant from Covina, said. “You meet a lot of great people from different backgrounds.”

Classic cars, strawberry vendors and antique farming tools greeted guests at the festival’s entrance.

The farming tools received the most attention as they showcased the progression of steam engines and irrigation systems, comparing them to modern farming tools.

Antique water pumps were set-up around the exhibition that allowed guests to pump fresh water into a bucket, reminding them what farm life was like.

The strawberry field was located towards the end of the festival behind the university’s farm store. It was a small attraction and featured strawberry plants in above-ground planters.

A long line of families waited patiently with their baskets in hand, ready to pick the strawberries. Once inside the strawberry patch, parents laughed alongside their children.

Adults were cautious with their strawberry selection and examined each berry before picking it. On the other hand, children carelessly picked the first strawberries they saw and threw them in their basket.

For those who were not interested in picking their own fruit, the farm store was open and selling pre-picked strawberries by the basket, half flat and flat.

The strawberry patch closed after all the berries had been picked, but the farm store remained open.

Guests strolled up and down the street, looking at the numerous cars on display. More than 20 cars were awarded trophies at the car show, and the winners were announced when the festival ended at 4 p.m.

Cars from every era were present at the car show portion of the event. Several owners proudly displayed the trophies their cars had won over the years.

The middle section of the festival was more family-oriented and featured a petting zoo, pony rides and tractor rides.

The barn located next to the petting zoo housed an insect exhibition, which featured fossilized butterflies and other insects for attendees to observe.

“This event is unique compared to others that the city has to offer,” Pomona resident Allenousk Keshishian said. “This is a great time for the family, and my sons have had so much fun learning about the strawberries and onions.”

Behind the barn was a courtyard where a classic rock cover band performed for the event. Families gathered around the stage and sang along to the music while enjoying their lunch, which was catered by Habit Burger.

The set-up was different from previous years, according to Bill Daners, an attendee from Glendora.

“In the past it’s felt more segregated; they usually have specific sections for each attraction,” Daners said. “But this year it’s more blended. There’s a mix of everything throughout the entire festival.”

Liz Ortiz can be reached at

Helen Arase

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