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Florida Strawberry Festival

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Fair Fare

This past weekend we visited the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida- about 30 minutes northeast of Tampa.  The 10-day festival started in 1930 as a small gathering to honor the harvesting of the strawberries.  Today it is an enormous festival attracting a half million visitors each year and features carnival rides, flea market-style vendors and tons of food options.  Each year the festival attracts major musical acts like Blake Sheldon and Rascal Flatts.

Strawberry Festival Stage

Strawberry Half Flat

I have always wanted to go to the Strawberry Festival and have just never taken the time to go. Chad and I were able to get discount tickets at our local Publix for $8 a piece and found $5 parking near the Festival grounds.  (hint: many of the local residents near the Festival allow people to park on their lawns for $5- otherwise, expect to pay $10 anywhere else.)

Midway Rides

As we walked towards the gates we realized the magnitude of this event.  This thing was HUGE.  First thing we did was make our way over to the carnival rides- not to ride, but to look at the crazy people who thought flipping upside down 50 feet in the air was fun…..

No thank you Why

There were several haunted houses, Ferris wheels and areas for water bumper boats…..

Haunted House

Water Bumper Boats

We oggled at the insane people who spun around in a gravity chamber…..

Gravity Ride

We enjoyed watching people who rode on the “Berry” Go-Round.

Berry Go Round

We marveled at all the food vendors offering funnel cakes, turkey legs, corn dogs and ice cream…..

Ice Cream Shack

Old Fashioned Soda

And of course there were plenty of strawberries and treats with strawberries…. .

Strawberry Napoleon

We eventually found something we couldn’t resist.  A place that will fry anything.  From Oreos to Pepsi to Butter to Candy Bars- anything.  They would probably fry my shoe if I asked them to.

Deep Fried Oreos

Deep Fried Anything

We settled on trying the fried Twix bars and wow!  They were unbelievable and surprisingly tasty.  I loved how the chocolate was melted into the fried batter.

Deep Fried


We knew we couldn’t survive on sweets alone so we decided to begin the hunt for vegetables.  Could we find vegetables at the fair?  Well, yes, but they were fried of course.

Fry Hop

We found a place that offered a basket of fried veggies- we had fried onions, tomatoes, pickles, mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli.

Fried Onions and Veggies

Listen, it wasn’t the healthiest of things, but at least we had some broccoli yes?

Fried Broccoli

We also had some freshly squeezed lemonade- definitely a very popular item on a warm spring day in Central Florida.

Lemonade Stand


And of course, why does one come to the strawberry festival?  For the strawberries of course!  Perhaps the most famous food here is the Strawberry Shortcake.  It was very good.  So much whipped cream though- we will be running lots and lots of extra laps around the track this week.

Strawberry Shortcake

As we enjoyed the sights, the people, the shows and the rides, we also knew we couldn’t leave without bringing home some of the strawberries offered by local farmers.  We paid $7 for a half flat of the berries (a half flat consists of 6 pints.)  That was enough for us to eat strawberries morning, noon and night for the next week.  Luckily we got a great tip from one of the farmers to chop off the green parts and freeze the berries for smoothies and ice cream.

Florida Strawberry Festival Berries

We also picked up some locally grown sweet onions…..

Sweet Onions

Here’s a hint though- wait to buy your strawberries until after you exit the festival.  There were a ton of vendors outside the gates offering the berries at $4 for a half flat or $7 for a full flat (12 pints.)


We had a ““berry” good time!! (sorry, had to do it!!)

Is there a fair in your area that you visit every year?

Helen Corbin

Wednesday 12th of March 2014

Very cute and funny narrative :-) It sounds like fun.