You can smirk at the Florida Strawberry Festival as being a dusty down-home hootenanny — and, well, you'd be right — but the cool lil' showbiz secret is that the fruity bacchanal in Plant City also has some of the mightiest concert clout in the area.
In past years, the StrawFest has pulled in Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks. And the just-released 2012 lineup, which will whoop it up March 1-11, is pretty dang stuffed, too.
Country stalwarts Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Monday Night Football controversy magnet Hank Williams Jr. — plus hot young acts the Band Perry, Luke Bryan, the JaneDear Girls and Disney teen-pop kids Demi Lovato and Allstar Weekend — are all coming this year.
To quench your nostalgic thirst, Air Supply, the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Brenda Lee and Charlie Daniels will also be stomping the boards. Gretchen Wilson, Easton Corbin, Jake Owen and TobyMac are here, too.
Of course, pulling in big names can be costly, and as result, a couple of this year's tickets are relatively pricey for a rural fair: Hank (March 4) and Reba (March 11) are $50. Most other shows are in the $25-35 range.
Here are a few other dates to mark down: Lovato, March 2, $30 and $35; Air Supply, March 3, $15 and $20; Gill, March 6, $35; and the Band Perry, March 7, $25 and $30.
Festival admission tickets purchased in advance are $8 for ages 13 and older, $4 for ages 6 to 12. (Advance tickets will be available Dec. 5.) Admission prices at the gate will be $10 for adults, $5 for youths. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.
Go to flstrawberryfestival.com for schedule and ticket information or call (813) 754-1996.
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life blog is at tampabay.com/blogs/poplife.