Strauss Festival of Elk Grove

Reviewed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

$15,896 raised by 83 donors

86% complete

$18,500 Goal

The Strauss Festival is the result of founder Iris Zimbelman's dream to recreate the wonderful Strauss music and dance of Vienna in a contemporary style at a local park, and to ensure that the event be FREE and accessible to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status. The first Strauss Festival was presented in July 1987 and about 5,000 people attended the two-day event. Over the years the festival has more than doubled in attendance (peaking near 25,000 during it highest attended years) and is now performed over four days the last full weekend in July. The show currently takes place on "Strauss Island" located in the middle of Elk Grove Park Lake. This outdoor performance facility was built with a generous grant from the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. Seating is festival-style on blankets and lawn chairs, with folding chairs and bleachers available for those in need of this type of seating.

The production tells a different story each year by creatively combining a lively professional 32-piece orchestra playing music by Johann Strauss ll, with graceful, elaborately costumed dancers ranging in age from 4 to 82. The performance each evening culminates with a fireworks display, presenting a unique performing arts event for the whole community. The dancers include troops of various ages and many of the children involved become long-time participants. Dancing workshops are offered free to the public to anyone interested in performing, regardless of age or prior experience. The Strauss festival is fortunate to have approximately 300 dedicated volunteers who expend about 45,000 hours every year to help make the festival a successful and memorable cultural event. It is truly amazing to see this labor of community love come to life annually, particularly in light of the fact that the Board, choreographers, set designers and builders, seamstresses, committee members, and performers freely offer their time and talents to make this happen.

The largest expenditures for the festival include hiring the professional 32-piece Camellia Symphony Orchestra and renting professional sound and lighting equipment and their personnel to operate it. In addition, money is needed for the fabric of the elaborate show costumes and accessories, set construction materials and pieces, sanitation services, security, fireworks, special seating arrangements (including chairs for ADA and bleachers), printing, insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses.

The Strauss Festival raises funds year-round and is deeply involved in our community. With respect to fund-raising, we annually hold a spring tea, an annual end-of-year letter and we participate in the Big Day of Giving. We apply for regional grants and reach out to local organizations and businesses for in-kind donations. Our community involvement extends to other non-profits like the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Elk Grove Historical Society, and Soroptimist of Elk Grove. We partner with organizations such as Capital Public Radio, Elk Grove Inner Wheel, and Ardent, as well as the City of Elk Grove, Consumes Community Service District, and local high schools in order to get as broad of a base of participants and volunteers as possible.

For more than 35 years, the Strauss Festival of Elk Grove has been a staple in the local performing arts community and one of the only opportunities to experience this type of entertainment free of charge. We hope to continue to grow in our ability to entertain, educate, and reach as many people in the greater Sacramento community as possible.


Offering all citizens of the Elk Grove community and the greater Sacramento region a free annual festival promoting classical music and performing arts for a diverse, multi-generational audience.


Annual sponsorships, grants, unique private donations, and in-kind donations from local businesses and organizations to provide for an estimated $150,000 in budgeted expenses.

The festival thrives on the volunteer dancers, stagehands, seamstresses, choreographers, crowd guidance assistants, VIP and ADA seating coordinators, costume dresser's and other duties as needed to keep the festival running smoothly for four days. Many additional hours of volunteer service are required to support our fundraising activities including the Annual Spring Tea as well as our community outreach activities involving the Western Festival of Elk Grove, Giant Pumpkin Festival Elk Grove and The Elk Grove Parade of Lights.

Volunteers to serve on the board of directors with expertise in the areas of marketing, fundraising, grant writing, finance, and social media.

Funding is needed to build our visibility and capacity in order to bring classical music and performing arts to a continually wider audience.

We need funds to continually update and operate our online pay abilities, software for our correspondence, financial documents and marketing flyers. These items require basic electronic devices that will allow us to carry out our festival duties.

Equity Statement

Organization Data


Organization name

Strauss Festival of Elk Grove

other names

Strauss Festival

Tax id (EIN)


Mission Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Operating Budget


Organization Need

Funding: Program, Volunteers, Board Members, Funding: Unrestricted, Technology

Demographics Served

LGBTQIA+, General population, Women/Female-identifying

BIPOC Leadership

Board Chair

Counties Served



P.O. Box 309
Elk Grove, CA 95759

Service areas

Sacramento, CA, US

El Dorado, CA, US

San Joaquin, CA, US

Yolo, CA, US

Elk Grove, CA, US



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