If you are in Florida between February 28 and March 10, you might want to consider visiting the Strawberry Festival. It features agricultural shows, fun contests, rides, parades, great country entertainment and strawberry delights in one place all at an affordable price. The festival celebrates the area’s biggest crop and typically includes all things strawberry — from vendors offering everything from berry-themed crafts to flats of the red fruit.
I’ve never attended the festival, although it comes highly recommended. I have tasted the wonder Plant City strawberries on several occasions and they are absolutely delicious.
The Florida Strawberry Festival was born in the 1930s when the newly organized Plant City Lions Club had the idea to unite communities through the celebration of the strawberry harvest. The Lions Club and other civic organizations have participated in the festival throughout its long history. The American Legion Post #26 is also recognized for its effort in getting the Florida Strawberry Festival reactivated in 1948 following a six year hiatus during and immediately following World War II. Now “The Florida Strawberry Festival Association” is governed by a board of directors from the local community and a small staff who work year round to make the Strawberry Festival one of the top 30 of such events in North America.
The festival is a family-oriented event featuring arts, crafts, horticulture, livestock, agriculture, fine arts, rides, entertainment and much more. Here are just a few of the highlights:
The Mighty Bluegrass Show’s Carnival features over 60 thrilling rides in the Midway. For younger festival-goers there is also the Strawberry Patch Kiddy Corral with age appropriate rides.
The agricultural shows and exhibits are a great way for children to learn how farming communities function. Some children get to see animals they’ve only seen in books, so it is a great educational experience too.
Perhaps almost as famous as its strawberries, is the Florida Strawberry Festival’s entertainment line-up. Year after year, the Festival draws some of the finest rock and country music performers for its toe-tappin’ concerts.
If you go, expect a lot of traffic, especially on the weekends and plan your travel accordingly.
General advance admission ticket prices are $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-12 and children 5 and under are admitted free with a paid adult. Concert tickets are $15 to $55, depending on the artist and date. Advance admission tickets will go on sale at Sweetbay Supermarkets beginning in mid-February and continuing throughout the festival. Regular gate admission prices apply at the gate once the festival is open — prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Special festival days are:
- Thursdays, February 28 and March 7 – SENIOR DAYS, ages 60 and over get $2 off regular gate admission of $10.
- Saturday, March 2 – FREE KIDS DAY, kids through high school age are admitted free.
- Tuesday, March 5 – RED HAT DAY, Red Hatters get $2 off regular gate admission of $10.
- Wednesday, March 6 – AMERICAN HEROES DAY, all active, reserve, retired military, veterans, law enforcement & first responders are admitted free with a valid ID.
The festival grounds are located about 15 miles east of Tampa.