The temperatures were back in the 70’s for a few hours Tuesday just in time to enjoy a day at the 78th Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Fla. Those that made it out were in for numerous treats some free and some not so free.
It was Red Hat Day with Red Hatters saving $2 on gate admission. Visitors could also save on gate admission of $10 with advance purchase gate admission tickets for $8 at select Sweetbay Supermarkets. The Blood Bank vehicle was there for a lure - donate blood for free gate admission. For those that wanted to ride the 85 or so (half adult rides, half kiddie rides) Belle City Amusement Midway rides, it was Ride-A-Thon Day - $20 wristband for most rides from noon until 11 p.m.
If rides weren’t your choice there was the headline entertainment featuring Bobby Vinton and Martina McBride with 3,000 free seats available in the Eye Express Free Grandstands on a first come, first seated basis. Vinton seemed to be more popular as the majority of paid seats and free seats were filled compared to Martina McBride’s performance later in the evening.
There was plenty to see at no extra cost added to the gate admission - numerous stage shows, exhibits of agriculture, horticulture, commerce, fine arts, homemade goods and crafts, contests, and livestock competitions. Even free samples of dog food were handed out along with coupons for free purchase of dog or cat food and treats.
Almost at every corner there were food vendors selling from the unimaginable fried foods – fried Reeses Peanut Butter cups, fried vegetables, fried corn to the popular American and ethnic delights – turkey drumsticks, hamburgers, corn dogs, elephant ears (fried dough) with fruit toppings or white powdered sugar. Of course soft drinks especially coffee was popular as the temperatures started to get cooler in the late afternoon. A few new treats this year are gator bites, gator sausage dog, strawberry nachos, redneck burger cone, devil crabs, and Amish donuts just to name a few.
And who would leave the Florida Strawberry Festival without having a strawberry shortcake but beware where to get a little more for your money. It’s at St. Clements Make-Your-Own Strawberry Shortcake stand. Don't let the long lines fool you. You will not be in line for more than 15 minutes since the lines move quickly (there is more than one entrance to the stand). You choose a cake or biscuit, top it with as much sweetened strawberries your bowl can hold (our strawberries were not so sweet), add whipped cream, and then it is topped with a strawberry. The price is the same ($3.50) everywhere from the being served to you to make it yourself. Most preferred the latter as a more for your money deal.
There are a few more days left for the Florida Strawberry Festival as it ends this Sunday, March 10. Temperatures have been like a seesaw, therefore take along a backpack or a tote just in case for the extra warm gear you might want to take along or take off, wear comfortable closed shoes, eat a good meal unless you want to spend more money eating at the festival, and if you can carpool do so as most parking is $10. By the way, it is impossible to get in on everything offered in one visit. Therefore, get there as early as you can to make it an all-day event if you have the time and desire.
The Florida Strawberry Festival takes place at 303 North Lemon St. in Plant City. For additional information and event schedules visit Florida Strawberry Festival.
Read other articles of interest - Enjoy another year at the Florida Strawberry Festival and One more week of headline entertainment at Florida Strawberry Festival.
Comments are more than welcome. Subscribe to keep informed of my articles, local and non-local events and happenings, photos and videos added. Seeking sponsors as well. Feel free to like, share/repost the link. Please don’t copy any content nor reproduce photos. Check out my other examiner sections: Latin Music Examiner, City Guides Examiner and Tampa Cultural Events Examiner.
Sus comentarios son bien recibidos. Inscríbase para mantenerse informados de mis escritos, fotos y videos. Comparta este escrito y o las fotos. Pero por favor no reproducir/copiar las fotos ni su contenido. Vea mi otras secciones: Latin Music Examiner, City Guides Examiner y Tampa Cultural Events Examiner.