In the early 1900s, local agriculture producers struggled to find a crop that could withstand the harsh winters. Most farmers lost their livelihoods. Plant City’s economic climate had to shift, and some farmers turned to strawberries. Luckily, the sweet, savory fruit was a success and the popularity of the strawberry, and the city in which it was harvested, grew.
In 1920, Plant City was named the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World and became the largest inland shipping point in the state of Florida. Shortly thereafter, the first Florida Strawberry Festival began on an empty lot with one building and consisted of floats, vendors, rides, shows and food. Since then, the festival has rapidly grown to approximately 130 acres and more than 500,000 annual guests.
The Florida Strawberry Festival is a sweet slice of Americana, and our vision for the 2020 event holds true to the traditions that were started more than 85 years ago.
The theme for this year’s festival seems quite fitting for the year 2020. As I reflect on how the festival has evolved, even over the last 10 years, I think of one thing that has remained constant: the hundreds of volunteers and the community support we receive year after year. It is truly remarkable and is a testament to the tradition and spirit of the event that has lasted for decades. “Our Perfect Vision” captures the essence of what we hope guests see when they step on our grounds. There is no better place in Plant City to make lifelong memories than at the Florida Strawberry Festival. With entertainment for each member of the family, livestock shows, rides and tasty treats, we pride ourselves on always having a family-friendly environment.
For our 85th year, we have an exciting festival planned just for you. We’re inviting 24 of the country’s top entertainers, bringing in more than 85 of the most exciting rides, hosting hundreds of youth exhibitors in eight different livestock shows, displaying the artwork, photographs and homemade items thousands of our local residents enter into competition, cooking up some of the tastiest treats from hundreds of food vendors and, most of all, picking more strawberries than you could ever imagine for shortcakes, milkshakes, cheesecakes, cobblers, ice cream and more.
For several years now, we have proudly partnered with Publix Super Markets to bring discounted admission tickets to you and your family to make your visit as cost-effective as possible. For information on admission tickets, concert tickets, events and more, please visit us at www.flstrawberryfestival.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and pictures of festival fun. You can also receive direct reminders and information by subscribing on our website to our “Berry Latest” emails.
Our staff is working diligently to ensure a successful festival, but the help and support from our community is paramount. We are truly grateful for every one of our nearly 2,500 volunteers and for the warm, welcoming spirit they show to our visitors. If you have never volunteered at the festival, I encourage you to do so. It’s much more fun than it is work! In addition, I would like to thank our board members, sponsors, committee members, community stakeholders and every one of our visitors. Each of you has a hand in making our festival such a success.
At the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival, I hope “Our Perfect Vision” of this year’s event is memorable for you, your family and friends. I look forward to seeing you and hearing about the new memories you have made.
— Paul C. Davis, Jr., President