Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Strawberry Festival news and notes

. Festival notes

Food fights

With Plant City's favorite fruit at the center of the festival, it's a given that digesting strawberry concoctions is a cornerstone.

However, competitive eating also holds a special place. Beginning today, chowhounds can step up to the plate for four events that test whether people's stomachs are as big as their eyes.

Rigatoni's sponsors today's Fried Corn on the Cob Team Eating Contest at 1 p.m. at the Stingray Chevrolet tent. The Super Dog Mega Corn Dog Contest (Wednesday, 1 p.m.), the Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest (Thursday, 2 p.m.) and the Strawberry Mashed Potato Pie Eating Contest (March 8, noon) also will reward those who match gusto and gastro. No word on whether strawberry-flavored Pepto-Bismol will be offered.

Dress to impress

Everyone loves themed parties where you craft a costume and masquerade in a campy getup. But at the Strawberry Festival, people dress up and then they dress up their cows. Or their lambs, depending on the particular night.

Yes, the festival features both the Dairy Costume Ball at the Patterson Co. Livestock Arena on Sunday and the Lamb Costume Contest at the Swindle Family Pavilion on Tuesday. You really haven't seen anything until you've seen a cow dressed up like the "Mystery Machine" from Scooby-Doo.

Who's the best?

Nobody can eat just one strawberry shortcake, so why not set out to prove who offers the best? Three organizations offer shortcake: St. Clement Church, the East Hillsborough Historical Society and Turkey Creek Assembly of God. If you quiz the natives, all three will receive support.

Did you know?

• Pam Tillis, country star and daughter of music icon Mel Tillis, was born in Plant City.

• Alcoholic beverages have never been served at the festival.

• Seniors get $2 off admission on Thursday.

If you go

The Florida Strawberry Festival's official address is 303 N Lemon St., and most reach it by taking Interstate 4 to Exit 19 (Thonotosassa Road), but the old pros will advise you to take Exit 18 (Branch Forbes Road) and come in from the east on U.S. 92. Festival admission is $8, $4 ages 6-12 at Sweetbay throughout the fest, $10, $5 ages 6-12 at the gate. Kids 5 and younger free. Visit

Concert schedule

Today: Casting Crowns 7:30 p.m. ($20-$25); Gene Watson 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

Saturday: Justin Moore 7:30 p.m. ($15-$20); Gloriana 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

Sunday: Alan Jackson 7:30 p.m. ($45); Randy Houser 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

Monday: Dwight Yoakam 7:30 p.m. ($20-$25); Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

Tuesday: Martina McBride 7:30 p.m. ($30); Bobby Vinton 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

Wednesday: Trace Adkins 7:30 p.m. ($30); Neal McCoy 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

Thursday: Brantley Gilbert 7:30 p.m. ($35); Mel Tillis 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

March 8: Scotty McCreery 7:30 p.m. ($25-$30); T.G. Sheppard and Janie Fricke 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

March 9: Bret Michaels 7:30 p.m. ($25-$30); Gaither Vocal Band 3:30 p.m. ($20-$25)

March 10: Blake Shelton 7:30 p.m. (sold out); Hunter Hayes 3:30 p.m. ($15-$20)

Florida Strawberry Festival news and notes 02/28/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 5:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack


    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath


    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.