Donna Elliott waited nearly four days for her spot at the front of the line when tickets went on sale for the Strawberry Festival’s headline entertainment.
Each year Plant City’s Strawberry Festival brings a lineup of headline entertainment that’s filled from top to bottom with star-studded and world-renowned musical acts
And with that wealth of entertainers and musical groups comes fans flocking from all over for their chance to see their favorite performers and bands. But while dozens — if not hundreds — can argue that they would do anything to ensure their place in the stands, very few would camp out for nearly four days to make it happen.
“It’s just so much fun,” Donna Elliott said. “We sit here and we play games, we interact with each other, we have food delivered, it’s awesome. And we also get a lot of questions from people riding by asking, ‘what are y’all doing out here,’ or ‘where’s the line for tickets?’ We just tell them that it’ll be right here, but three days from now. We confuse them big time.”
Joined by a group of 12 friends that Elliott calls her “frontline bunch,” and at times her granddaughters until school starts in the morning, the Plant City local has celebrated the release of headline entertainment tickets for over a decade by camping out in line. This year even marked a special moment for Elliott as she claimed that while she’s spent years camping out at the Strawberry Festival grounds — becoming no stranger to the third or fourth spot in line — this year was her first time being at the front of the line to purchase tickets when the box office opened.
After the long wait Elliott purchased 32 tickets in total, including tickets to eight shows for herself and several other tickets that were purchased as Christmas presents for her kids and grandkids.
“As soon as the lineup comes out it’s like, ‘I want to go to this show and I want to go to that show,’ they’re all telling me,” Elliott said. “And my son and my daughter-in-law, that’s just what they want for Christmas.”
Elliott says that the best performance she’s ever seen at the Strawberry Festival was country music star George Jones and is certainly most excited to see Nelly this year, but while the entertainers provide their fair share of fun, it all starts months before with her annual tradition of spending quality time with friends and family as she waits in line for tickets.
“It’s an amazing experience and people shouldn’t knock it until they try it,” Elliott said. “I know that we get a lot of negativity and people think we’re crazy for sitting out here but they have no idea how much fun we really, really have.”