Spring brings strawberries ripe for the picking and Plant City celebrates with an annual feasting extravaganza, the Florida Strawberry Festival, one part county fair with midway rides and livestock shows, one part country music exhibition.
Strawberry Fields Forever
Thursday, February 27, 2014-Sunday, March 9, 2014, 303 N. Lemon St., Plant City, 813-752-9194.
It’s that first bite into a strawberry, still warm from the sun, that leaves a crimson trail of sweet juice running down your cheek.You thought you knew what a strawberry tasted like, until you tried one grown with Florida sunshine. Because while the rest of the world shovels snow off the road, Tampa Bay feasts outside on berries at the annual Florida Strawberry Festival.
Every winter, Plant City’s 10,000 acres of berry farms turn ripe red with fruit. And since 1930, folks have gathered in “the winter strawberry capital of the world,” to celebrate the yearly harvest with food and folly. Prepare your taste buds for this year’s theme; Florida’s Best Family Recipe. The festival, created in the 1930s by the Plant City Lions Club, is still planned by the local community through the Florida Strawberry Festival Association. Board members, volunteers, and community members work all year to create one of the top festivals in North America.
The Florida Strawberry Festival is dedicated to preserving the history of Tampa Bay’s agriculture and community through one very delicious vehicle, strawberries. Known for hosting some of the best rock and country bands in the nation, don’t forget to check out some of the great music too. Don’t miss a taste of our ruby sunshine.
Schedule of Events
January 25, 2014, 6:00 p.m. at the Grimes Center, Festival Grounds, Plant City, Florida.
The Strawberry Queen
The Florida Strawberry Festival Queen legacy began in 1930 with the first crowned beauty, almond-eyed brunette Miss Charlotte Rosenberg. Hair and fashion styles may have changed since Queen Rosenberg reigned, but the Strawberry Queen tradition continues in 2014. Plant City’s own Kelsey Fry, a swimmer studying agricultural marketing, is the most recent Queen. This year, the festival crowns its 79th Queen and court.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest
In addition to strawberry pizza, shakes, jam, there’s the crown jewel of strawberry desserts, the infamous strawberry shortcake. Watch as 10 contestants take on four pounds of strawberry shortcake (with whipped cream), with just 10 minutes on the clock. Only one can win. Do you have what it takes to be the next Strawberry Shortcake eating contest champion? 18 years or older, only one member per family, no teams. Ten contestants chosen by lottery. Thursday, March 6, 2014, registration starts at 1:30 p.m., contest begins at 2 p.m. Hosted at the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Stage.
Tuesday-Thursday at 12 p.m., Saturday-Monday at 10 a.m.
Belle City Midway
Take a spin on the Berry Go Round, or any of the over 40 family-friendly rides at the Belle City Midway’s Kiddie Koral. Older kids and adults can ride and spin on over 60 rides from the Mighty Bluegrass Show’s Carnival. Opens Tuesday-Thursday at 12 p.m., Saturday-Monday at 10 a.m. Hours of Kiddie Koral TBA.
Celebrate Greatness in Agriculture
Plenty of livestock shows, crafts, horticultural exhibits, pig races, polka dances, and parades. See the best on agricultural excellence from the Future Farmers of America to poultry, dairy, photography, and more. Also, check out handcrafted wares from community members go toe-to-toe at the Neighborhood Village adult and youth competitions. Who’s handstitched quilt will take the ribbon home this year?
Every day, 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Rock out with Biggest country and rock bands at Wish Farms soundstage
There’s only one place you can sip a fresh strawberry shake and see Rascal Flatts, Boyz II Men, and Styx perform live. The Florida Strawberry Festival is notorious for hosting some of the biggest musical acts in the nation. This year, the Oak Ridge Boys celebrate 40 years of Grammy-Award winning country and southern gospel. Other acts include “Your Man,” singer Josh Turner, American Idol Kellie Pickler, Colt Ford, Lee Brice, Third Day, Jerrod Niemann and The Band Perry. Headline concerts start 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. every day. Reserved seating $15-$55. Complete schedule and ticket prices available at floridastrawberryfestival.com.
Don’t forget the flat
A trip to the Florida Strawberry Festival isn’t complete until there’s a flat of Plant City berries in the back seat. But folks, resist the urge to purchase your pints on the way inside, wait until the end of the day before you buy from one of the various vendors in and around the festival.
Just the Ticket
Advanced general admission $8 for adults, $4 children 6-12, free for children under 5 with paid adult. Gate admission $10 for adults, $5 children. Concern tickets $15-$55, depending on artist and date. Tickets available online, at participating Publix Supermarkets, and in-person at 2209 W. Oak Ave., Plant City. For information at floridastrawberryfestival.com.
Oh boy! That’s right… boys. Jersey Boys that is. From a top Broadway musical to getting splashed with Sea Lion Stars this weekend shouldn’t include any boredom. Start Friday by kicking back at my new favorite happy hour spot and end your weekend on Sunday stuffing your face at a local foodie festival. Here are my top 5 things you don’t want to miss this weekend in Tampa Bay!
Jersey Boys, David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
Ah, the Jersey Boys charm has returned to Tampa Bay for an unbelievably beautiful performance of pop classics from the Four Seasons; Frankie Valli (played by Tampa native Hayden Milanes), Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. The musical journey takes you on a tour of four blue-collar kids becom... Read more
303 N Lemon St.
Plant City, FL 33563