The Florida Strawberry Festival is turning 80 next year, and its leaders want the 2015 event to be one for the history books. Literally.
General Manager Paul Davis and the rest of the Florida Strawberry Festival staff currently are combing through the archives to find any pieces of history they can, which will culminate in the publication of a history book.
“This is a project we have wanted to focus on for many years,” Davis said. “We have such a rich history, and many of the struggles and triumphs that have shaped our beloved festival into what it is now are unknown by the general public.”
The festival’s private archive is rather large. Photographs, documents and other pieces of memorabilia from as far back as the 1930s have been preserved there, and all of those items are expected to make up the bulk of the book’s content.
“I don’t know exactly how big it’s going to be, but I think it’s going to be a pretty lengthy book,” said festival spokeswoman Lauren Der. “We’ve had a lot of successes, changes and people over 80 years, and we want to cover as much of that as possible. Those successes, changes and people are what have made our festival so successful to this day.”
At the moment, no publication date is set. According to Der, it may be after this time next year.
“Whenever it is finished, they will be available for purchase,” Der said. “And, it is going to be a very nice-looking, high-quality book — almost like a coffee-table book. Something really nice that people can display in their homes.”
Maybe the most important part of the book’s development, though, will come from the people of Plant City. Der and Davis currently are seeking donations for the book, or at least looking to borrow items.
“We have held on to as much as possible,” Davis said. “But, we know people in our community have historical newspaper articles, photographs, brochures, advertisements and other items of interest that are important to have when compiling an accurate historical record.”
Anyone who wishes to have something featured in the book should bring the item to the festival office and complete an intake form, which also can be found on the festival’s website. Items can either be donated to or scanned and returned.
Contact Justin Kline at email@example.com.
SHARING IS CARING
The Florida Strawberry Festival wants your submissions. If you have a piece of festival history you’d like to see included in the book, fill out an intake form, available at flstrawberryfestival.com, and then bring the items to the festival, 303 N. Lemon St., Plant City.
For more information, contact Lauren Der at (813) 752-9194 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.