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Insider’s Guide: 2018 Florida Strawberry Festival
Flowers aren't the only thing that are blooming this spring! The annual Florida Strawberry Festival is finally here and for the next eleven days, Plant City, Florida, will draw in over 500,000 visitors to the much-anticipated festival. The theme for this year's festival is “building new memories", which is perfect considering there is a brand new stage for live music!
Since its inception in 1930, the annual Florida Strawberry Festival has been a hotspot for friends and families from all across the world to celebrate and experience “exhibits of agriculture, commerce, industry, livestock, fine arts, horticulture, and crafts." What initially began as a celebration of harvests has since transformed into a festival filled with fun, food, music and you guessed it - strawberries! In fact, the annual event has become one of the best festivals in the nation, even landing itself a spot on The Top 40 Fairs in North America!
Read on to discover some of the best attractions, entertainment, highlights, and food with our insider's guide to the 2018 Florida Strawberry Festival!
With a name like “Florida Strawberry Festival", you know the food has some high expectations to live up to! Although you will find your traditional deep-fried fair delights here, what really sets this festival apart from the rest is that special berry! In fact, the FSF site has a section called “Strawberry Central" dedicated to the top treats and where to find them once in the gates!
World-Famous Strawberry Shortcake
It would practically be a sin to attend the Florida Strawberry Festival and not try the world-famous Strawberry Shortcake! Featuring fresh, local berries from Plant City, this strawberry shortcake is composed of spongy yellow cake and topped with berries and whipped cream.
Strawberries aren't just for dessert - they can be savory too! If you're up for a food adventure, be sure to try the meatball sandwich, complete with sweet strawberry jam! Or, if you're in the mood for a burger, Carousel Hamburgers has a juicy hamburger patty topped with strawberry cookie crumbles, sandwiched between two pieces of French toast, and finished off with strawberries on top!
Strawberry Jam Meatball Sandwich. Photo: Plant City Observer
Combining two local favorites - strawberries and Amish donuts - results in a deliciously sweet creation! The Sweetheart consists of a chocolate donut, finished with hot fudge syrup, chocolate-covered strawberries, a generous helping of whipped cream, and lastly, a strawberry on top!
Once the festivities start winding down, don't forget to pick up a flat to take home for everyone to enjoy! Picked fresh and local from Wish Farms itself, these fresh strawberries are the perfect ending to the new memories you've built here at the Florida Strawberry Festival.
Perhaps even more highly anticipated than the strawberries themselves is the plethora of live music available during the festival. With concerts going on every day, Plant City proves it knows how to throw a party! While this year's lineup features a variety of music, some of the best names in country music will be playing shows this time around! The country artists headlining this year will be The Oak Ridge Boys, Trace Atkins, Gary Allan, Justin Moore, Dylan Scott, Big & Rich, Lee Greenwood, Reba McEntire, Josh Turner, Trace Atkins, Charley Pride, Sawyer Brown, Chase Bryant, and last but not least, Brad Paisley closing the festival.
Best of all, festival attendees can enjoy the show from the newly constructed Wish Farms soundstage! For more information on showtimes and tickets, head over to the FSF website.
Once your bellies are full and you have some hours to kill before the evening concert, the FSF attractions are the perfect way to spend the time! With three different attraction sections: The Belle City Midway, Sunnybelle Kiddie Korral, and the Neighborhood Village, there is definitely something for everyone here, regardless of their age! The Belle City Midway features over 80 rides and games, perfect for anyone looking for thrills or to win a giant stuffed bear! The Sunnybelle Kiddie Korral is separate from the “big kids' rides" and features attractions such as a Safari Train, Fun Zone, and a Merry Go Round. If rides and fair games aren't your thing, don't worry! The Neighborhood Market has some of the best award-winning creations from local Florida residents on display, including cake decorating, baking, quilts, and more!
Admission and Show Tickets
Regular admission is $10 for ages 13 and up. Children ages 6 to 12 get in for $5 and children under 5 are free with paid adult admission. However, discount admission tickets are available until March 11 at participating Publix Super Market locations.
- Adults (ages 13+): $8
- Children (ages 6-12): $4
- Children (ages 5 and under): FREE (with paid adult admission)
Tickets for all headline entertainment shows can be purchased in several ways: online at www.flstrawberryfestival.com, over the phone at 813-754-1996 or in-person at the Amscot Main Ticket Office located in Plant City at 2209 W. Oak Avenue. Tickets can also be purchased at on-site, but be aware that tickets do sell fast (Reba McEntire's show is already sold out)!
The Florida Strawberry Festival runs for 11 days from March 1 to March 11 and is open daily from 10AM to 10PM. For more information on pricing, discounts, maps/directions, parking, or any other frequently asked questions you can think of, your answers can be found here.