By OSCAR RIOS, Watsonville Mayor

23rd Annual Strawberry Festival

I would like to welcome you and your family to our 23rd Annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival. Come and explore downtown Watsonville with plenty of nearby parking and free admission to the event. This family-oriented event has something for everyone — great food, carnival rides, tasty strawberry delicacies, live entertainment and much more. Visit our website for more information:

Take Your Household Hazardous Waste to a Free Drop-Off Location

Do you have products that contain toxic ingredients such as pesticides, auto products, used batteries or light bulbs sitting inside your garage or taking up space in your cabinets? These items cannot be placed in the regular trash or recycling bin and it is unlawful to pour them down the kitchen sink, toilets, or storm drains as it pollutes our environment. Residents can drop-off their hazardous waste with a certified retailer as part of their take-back program. Take advantage of these free drop-off sites and find a location near you. Remember to pack products in leak-proof tubs or plastic lined boxes to avoid spills and do not mix chemicals. Visit our website at: for a list of certified retailers that accept certain hazardous waste products during open business hours. For safe disposal of other toxic products including pesticides, cleaning products, pool chemicals, solvents, etc., Watsonville residents can take them to the City’s Public Waste & Recycle Drop-off Center on 320 Harvest Drive.

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s Door-to-Door Program

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Door to Door Outreach Program is designed to help pet owners in need to provide better care for their pets than they can on their own. The program offers pet food, animal parasite control, new leashes, collars, and even pet toys. Julie Hitchcock, long-time Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter volunteer and teacher in Watsonville, has been doing outreach at the Friday Farmers Market in Watsonville for over a year. Watsonville residents in need of assistance with pet care needs can stop by the Farmers Market to obtain more information or contact Jen Walker, program manager at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, at [email protected] or call 454-7235. For more information about services available for Watsonville pet owners, please visit

Watsonville’s Annual Coastal Cleanup Day

Join us at one of our city-hosted cleanup sites on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. We will provide a safety talk, all necessary cleanup supplies and snacks. Here is a list of cleanup sites:

• West Struve Slough at Pajaro Valley High School   

• Watsonville Slough at Nature Center Ramsay Park

• Pajaro River at River Park

• Palm & Sunset State Beach hosted by Save Our Shores

You can pre–register your group to volunteer at one of our sites or just show up at your favorite location. For more information call 768-3165.

Family Days

The Nature Center will be hosting free bilingual nature walks at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 and Sunday, Sept. 24 at 1:30 p.m. in honor of the Monterey Bay Birding Festival. We will also have crafts and games during our open hours from 11 a.m.-4pm. For more information call 768-1622.

Music In the Plaza

Join us for a free concert on Aug. 10 featuring Tropical Night with Tributo a Las Sonoras and Con Rumba Café y Grupo Akutal and Aug. 24 featuring Motown/R&B Top 40 with performances from The Groove Foundation. Both concerts will be held downtown in the Plaza from 6-8 p.m. Bring your lawn chair and grab some dinner downtown.

Monterey Bay Birding Festival

Join us on Saturday, Sept. 23 to celebrate and explore the wide variety of species found in our bay.

I love to hear from our community, so please feel free to email me directly at: [email protected].


Oscar Rios is the mayor of Watsonville. His opinions are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.

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