Two new directors and two new associate directors were elected by the festival’s board of directors.
The lineup of “red coats” of the Florida Strawberry Festival got a new look this month, and the changes now have officially been announced.
The festival board welcomed Dr. Michael Salvato and Chris Sparkman aboard as directors, and Calvin “Pee Wee” Callins Sr. and Brian Shepherd were named associate directors. These fresh faces will replace outgoing directors Mike Sparkman, Ken Lucas and Ron Gainey, who are transitioning to directors emeriti and will still be considered active members.
The board selects new directors from its currently active group of associate directors, and it pulls from a group of nominated candidates to select new associate directors. The board is comprised of 16 directors and 14 associate directors.
“We are incredibly honored to have had so many outstanding nominees,” Florida Strawberry Festival Chairman Dub McGinnes said. “It was difficult to select just four.”
All four men have plenty of experience with the festival.
Salvato, an associate director of the last 16 years who has been involved in many of its committees, is well-known as the festival’s “on-call physician.” Sparkman, an associate director of the last 12 years, has been a volunteer since 1993 and has been heavily involved on the musical side with the headline entertainment and stadium operations committees.
“I’m extremely proud to be part of such a great organization,” Sparkman said. “I hope to continue the tradition of providing family-focused entertainment for many years to come.”
Shepherd has volunteered with the festival for more than 25 years and is active in its agricultural scene, having served on the youth plant show and sale committee, steer committee, swine committee and agriculture committee. Callins has done everything from stadium operations and vehicle parking to working on the Battle of the Bands committee and even performing, having headlined the Gospel Night series since 2014.
“I hope to contribute to the family feeling the festival offers its guests,” Callins said. “The festival is a place for everyone to come experience Plant City.”
The moves are the first directorial appointments by the festival’s new executive board, which was installed in mid-April. That includes new chairman McGinnes, director Andy Knotts, associate directors Brian West and Lori Yarbrough, vice chair Phil Waldron, secretary Danny Coton and treasurer Pam Warnock.
“The impact that the Florida Strawberry Festival and its leaders have made on me and my family is immeasurable,” Shepherd said. “I am overwhelmed by the confidence of the board of directors and look forward to serving our community in this capacity.”
The 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival will run from Feb. 27 through March 8, 2020. Visit flstrawberryfestival.com or its social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information.