Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

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 flstrawberryfestival.com.

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)

 
Comments
At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on

At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on "what we can do"

ST. PETERSBURGNear Mirror Lake, as protestors posed for pictures, hung signs on their dogs and distributed chant scripts just after noon Sunday, Linda Pair and her friend Beth Gavin arrived to march.Asked why she came out, Pair, 72 of Largo, put it b...
Updated: 16 minutes ago

Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding driver on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three people early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montanez...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Factory fire traps in workers, killing at least 17; Kabul siege ends violent 24 hours; more in world news

Factory fire traps in workers, killing at least 17; Kabul siege ends violent 24 hours; more in world news

IndiaFactory fire kills at least 17A fire at an industrial building on the outskirts of New Delhi broke out as workers were stuffing gunpowder into firecrackers, trapping many of them on the factory’s upper floors as it spread, and leaving at least 1...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Up to 1,000 more US troops could be headed to Afghanistan this spring

Up to 1,000 more US troops could be headed to Afghanistan this spring

The U.S. Army is readying plans that could increase the total force in Afghanistan by as many as 1,000 U.S. troops this spring beyond the 14,000 already in the country, senior military officials said.Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not signed off on...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Fifth-grader thought she brought gummy candies to school, but they were laced with marijuana

Fifth-grader thought she brought gummy candies to school, but they were laced with marijuana

A 9-year-old student in New Mexico gave fellow students gummies - only to realize later they were not ordinary candies.The candies had apparently been laced with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical responsible for how marijuana affects the bra...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The St. Petersburg Women’s March: Here’s what you need to know

The St. Petersburg Women’s March: Here’s what you need to know

ST. PETERSBURG — On Sunday afternoon, people will take part in the Women’s March, part of a series of marches taking place this weekend. Here’s what you need to know:When is the Women’s March?The march begins at noon on Sunday, Jan. 21, and a rally w...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Temperatures should reach the upper 70s on a warm, sunny, mild Sunday, kicking off a mild week in Tampa Bay, forecasters predict. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred e...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

More inmates died in Florida prisons last year than in any other year on record, leaving the state scrambling to identify causes and find solutions. The tally, 428 inmate deaths in 2017, was released late Friday by the Florida Department of Correctio...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18