Every year Floridians flock to Plant City to celebrate the strawberry harvest. Over 10,000 acres of strawberries are planted each year in Plant City, earning it the nickname Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. The city celebrates the bountiful harvest with a family-friendly festival. The Florida Strawberry Festival began in 1930, and is now known as one of the Top 40 Fairs in North America. It’s a great place to enjoy local fair rides and concerts, meet local berry farmers, and taste some of the best strawberries ever.
Florida Strawberry Festival Admission
The two week festival begins on February 27 and continues on until March 8. Admission prices won’t break the bank as adults are only $10 each and kids ages 6-12 can enter for just $5. Kids under age 5 are welcome to attend for free, as long as they are accompanied by an adult who has paid admission.
In addition to the already moderate pricing, you can save more on certain days. February 29 is Free Kids Day, where all kids high school age and under get in for free. You can also save $5 on ride wristbands during Coca-Cola Family Day on March 1 and 8. To participate, bring an empty Coca Cola brand can or plastic bottle.
Things to Do at the Florida Strawberry Festival
Every year, the Florida Strawberry Festival features internationally known talent in its entertainment lineup, as well as up and coming artists from all genres. This year the lineup includes American rock band Tommy James & the Shondells, country singer Reba McEntire, contemporary Christian band MercyMe, and southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The open-air theater is perfect for enjoying the fresh spring weather and festival atmosphere. Concerts aren’t included with general admission, so if there’s performance you’d like to attend, be sure to buy your ticket before they sell out. Tickets, as well as the full lineup of performers, are available now on the festival’s website.
In addition to concerts, you can relive your childhood with all the typical midway rides. The Belle City Midway features over 80 rides and games, while the Sunnybell Kiddie Korral offers kid-sized rides for the youngest guests. In order to ride, you’ll need to purchase a ride wristband at the gate.
There is also plenty of entertainment included with your general admission ticket. Like any good local fair, the Florida Strawberry Festival has eating contests that are free and open to all. The popular strawberry shortcake eating contest challenges competitors to eat a whole four pound strawberry shortcake in just 10 minutes. After eight minutes, the spoons are taken away, and that’s when things really start to get interesting. The winner receives a trophy with a pig on top. Truly brave contestants can join the Strawberry Mashed Potato Pie Contest and the Strawberry Spaghetti Contest. Both contests feature these traditional savory dishes topped with strawberries.
If scarfing down strawberry-topped foods doesn’t appeal to you, you can sign up for the strawberry stemming contests. There’s one for youth and another for adults so all ages can show off their stemming skills. Of course, not all of free entertainment involves food. Perennial favorite Battle of the Bands is back this year, as are the youth livestock shows. The Publix Showcase Tent and Smithfield Strawberry Tent will also feature entertainment. Check the Strawberry Festival website for more information and updates.
Get Your Fresh Florida Strawberries
You don’t want to leave the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World without sampling any strawberries, do you? Fortunately, you can buy fresh, local strawberries at the Florida Strawberry Festival. You’ll find strawberries at the Wish Farms booth by Gate 1 and the Parkesdale Farms booth near Gate 16. You can also dig into the festival’s famous strawberry shortcake, available in various locations at the festival including inside the Kellogg’s Strawberry Tent and the Parke Exhibit Building.
Don’t worry if you buy more than you can eat in one sitting. You can keep leftover berries fresh in the mini-fridge in your guestroom at Midpointe Hotel. Each of our guestrooms includes a mini-fridge as well as a 32” HDTV with cable and an electronic safe to keep your valuable secure. To book your stay, call us at 407-351-5100 or click on the orange button at the top of the page.