Also known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World, Plant City, Florida hosts an 11-day Strawberry Festival every year in early March, and in 2018 the festivities return from March 1 through 11. The festival celebrates the area's biggest crop and all things strawberry, featuring handmade crafts and racks of fresh fruit.
The main gate for entry into the festival grounds is located at Oak Avenue and Woodrow Wilson Street, and events take place at multiple tents and venues between Lemon and Ritter Streets and Granfield and Baker Streets (U.S. 92).
Tents at this year's festival include the Wish Farms Soundstage, North Exhibit Tent, Expo Hall, Stadium Exhibit Hall, Carriage House, the Smithfield Strawberry Tent, the Sunnybell Kiddie Korral, and the Belle City Amusements Midway park.
Exhibits, Events, and Concerts in 2018
The Florida Strawberry Festival's entertainment line-up is almost as famous as its strawberries are, and year after year, the Festival draws some of the finest rock and country music performers for its headliner concerts and free performances. This family-oriented event also features arts, crafts, horticulture, livestock, agriculture, fine arts, rides, and entertainment all in one place for 11 days.
In order to see headliner concerts—including Reba McEntire, Casting Crowns, Trace Adkins, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chase Bryant, and Brad Paisley—you have to buy a ticket in advance in addition to admission to the festival. Other headliners in 2018 include The Oak Ridge Boys, Gary Allen, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the I Love the 90's Tour featuring Vanilla Ice, Salt-n-Pepa, and Tone Loc.
There is also plenty of free entertainment at various stages throughout the fair property including daily free concerts at the Publix Showcase Tent. Other daily events take place at the Smithfield Strawberry Tent, the Stingray Entertainment Tent, the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, the All-Star Stunt Dog Show, and the Pig Races. Additionally, the Mighty Bluegrass Show's Carnival features over 60 thrilling rides in the Midway, and younger festival-goers will get their own thrills in the Strawberry Patch Kiddie Corral.
History, Directions, and General Information
The Florida Strawberry Festival was born in the 1930s when the newly organized Plant City Lions Club had the idea to unite communities through the celebration of the strawberry harvest, and the Lions Club and other civic organizations have participated in the festival throughout its long history.
The American Legion Post #26 is also recognized for its effort in getting the Florida Strawberry Festival reactivated in 1948 following a six-year hiatus during and immediately following World War II. Now "The Florida Strawberry Festival Association" is governed by a board of directors from the local community and a small staff who work year round to make the Strawberry Festival one of the top 30 of such events in North America.
General advance admission ticket prices are $10 for adults (ages 13+) and $5 for children (ages 6-12) while children 5 years of age and younger are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased at Publix Supermarkets throughout West Central Florida, at the Strawberry Festival Ticket Office at 2209 West Oak Avenue in Plant City, by phone, or online. Regular gate admission prices apply at the gate once the festival is open.
The Strawberry Festival grounds are easily accessible from both Tampa and Orlando via I-4 West and East, respectively, by exiting at Thonotosassa Road. The festival grounds are located about 15 miles east of Tampa in Plant City, Florida.