Parking in lots outside of the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds isn’t just accepted, it’s encouraged.
Have you ever been sketched out by the thought of having to park your car on a stranger’s lawn or at a business’s parking lot so you could go to a big event? As understandable as that feeling is, Plant City might be the one place where there’s no need to fear.
The Florida Strawberry Festival stands out among its peers for many reasons, but maybe the most notable thing is its commitment to the community and vice versa. It’s a well-known fact in town that pretty much anywhere you see parking near the festival grounds — even if it’s on someone’s lawn a short golf cart ride away from the main gate — is fair game. Local homeowners and businesses are encouraged by the festival to open up their free space for the purpose of parking festivalgoers and vendors, and many residents have done so for decades.
Opening up one’s space for parking can lead to a pretty nice windfall over the 11-day festival period.
Many residents make enough from parking cars to cover their tax bills or come up with a good chunk of change to play around with. For businesses, the extra cash can be put to good use for either themselves or causes they support. For example, Wells Memorial Funeral Home used all the money raised from parking cars in 2016 to help the Willis Peters Exceptional Center pay for a sunshade for its playground area.
Just because these parking areas are legitimate, though, doesn’t mean you should take your own security measures lightly. Always remember to lock your car doors, roll the windows up, hide any valuables and take note of where you parked and how to get back there later. It may seem like boring, basic advice but it’s not to be taken lightly. You’d be surprised how often we see police reports about unlocked cars getting burglarized, so we’re hoping to not have to read about someone stealing a wallet from your cup holder because you got careless.