March arrived and with it came the Strawberry Festival, although slightly different than normal. Headline entertainment was cancelled and the festival spent over $600,000 on alterations and additions put in place to make the annual festival run as safe and smoothly as possible with the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
Long-time local community leader Sharon Moody was tapped as the event’s Grand Marshal of the 2021 Grand Parade as she led the event through the streets of Plant City.
Plant City commissioners authorized City Manager Bill McDaniel to execute a letter of agreement with Florida State University that allowed up to 25 employees to head “back to school” to receive designation as a Certified Public Manager and at the same meeting, McDaniel also announced that EMS Chief James Maxwell had completed the four-year Executive Fire Officer Program throughthe National Fire Academy and he was recognized for his achievements.
Dover native Kenzie Wheeler appeared on the voice for the first time, impressing the judges and qualifying before joining Kelly Clarkson’s team on the show.
Throughout the month, several local fundraising efforts shattered their best numbers to date as Dean’s Ride fundraising event – the ninth annual bike ride that took riders through Plant City and as far west as Lake Thonotosassa – saw over 200 riders while raising over $15,000. The Timicua District of the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which includes Plant City, raised over 45,000 pounds of food in their Scouting for Food drive.
Strawberry Crest’s Sebastian Fernandez and Lex Strickland claimed second place and fourth place in their respective divisions at the wrestling regional championship, qualifying them both for the state championships, and Kali Vician from the Chargers’ girls soccer team was honored as part of the 2021 All-State and Academic All-State teams from the Florida Athletic Coaches Association. In a highly anticipated rematch of the Lightning Cup Championship, Durant hockey met Seminole in the SAHOF Tier II state championship where they once again settled for the runner up spot, falling in overtime.