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Ringing in the Strawberry Festival

John Pearson plays his Traveling Bell Wagon on Thursday, opening day of the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. Pearson, from College Station, Texas, was part of the daily entertainment at the 59th annual festival, whic includes alligator shows, puppet shows, a ventriloquist, a midway, petting zoo, arts and crafts, and animal exhibits Thousands of first-day visitors braved cloudy skies, wind and cool temperatures. But delicious strawberry treats were not the main attraction. The line-up of popular country music performers, also draws large crowds. The Oak Ridge Boys played two concerts Thursday. Upcoming performers include Wynonna Judd, Wayne Newton, Barbara Mandrell and Billy Ray Cyrus. The 10,000 seats for stadium shows are allotted on a first-come basis and free with the $5 admission to the festival. Admission for children 10 and under is free with a adult. The festival in the East Hillsborough community is open 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. through March 13.

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