The 2020 Strawberry Festival has come and gone, which means it’s time to start planning a Florida road trip to next year’s event! We sent our very own La Mesa RV employee Kristen and her husband Matt to the 85th Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida earlier this month. Together they saw, conquered and ate all the strawberries one could ever want. Check out our 2020 Strawberry Festival recap to get your wheels turning in anticipation for next year’s grand event.
This annual event was founded during a simpler time of American history. Fairs and festivals once brought communities together in celebration of the year’s harvest, and so continues the tradition through the festival’s focus on preserving the agricultural and historical legacy of the Florida Strawberry Festival. Founded in 1930, the festival began when Plant City Lions Club (a new local organization) wanted to throw an event to celebrate the harvest of strawberries. The event continued to flourish until World War II. After a six-year hiatus, the Lions Club was able to get the festival back up and running and it has been a wild success ever since.
Today the festival ranks among the Top 40 Fairs in North America and each year the event brings in big-name artists for the 11-day event. From youth developmental programs to floats, high-stepping marching bands, contest and crafts, the festival is a perfect blend of old Americana and the 21st century. The event is family-friendly and perfect for patrons of all ages.
BUILD YOUR OWN STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
Throughout the festival, you have the option to indulge in delicious strawberry desserts. While it can be overwhelming to choose just which sweet treat to try, there was one stand-out station that is not to be missed – a build your own strawberry shortcake. A $4 ticket will get you a front-row experience to building your very own dessert! Walk up to the counter and you can choose between shortcake or a biscuit and then add in your desired amount of strawberries, whipped cream and fresh strawberries for toppings. Might we recommend eating it in front of a Ferris wheel? It definitely got us in the spirit.
THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL EVENT DETAIL
Admission for Adults: $10 | Kids (6 -12): $5 | Under 5: FREE with paid adult admission
Concert tickets: Reserved seating tickets can be purchased online as early as December. Check here for updates on next year’s headliners.
Wheelchair rentals: $35/day
Motorized scooter rental: $60 all-day | $40 after 5 PM
Stroller rentals: $12
Wagon rentals: $17
Pets: Only service animals are allowed in festival grounds
Entertainment: The 2020 Strawberry festival featured headliners Rascal Flatts, 98 Degrees, Reba McEntire, Patti LaBelle, Sara Evans, Josh Turner, Skillet, MercyMe, Eli Young Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The 2021 lineup has yet to be announced but check here for updates on entertainment releases for next year.
Chicken fingers? Check. Hot dogs on a stick? You bet. Carnival fare, 100%. The food of your childhood is on display and yours for the eating at this festival. We stocked up on classics like caramel apples, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and corn dogs. From freshly fried donuts to cookie ice cream (yes, it’s a real thing), there is something for those who love strawberries and those who don’t.
THE STRAWBERRY DETAILS
Featured Farms: Parkesdale Farms, Wish Farms, Brandon Farms
Featured Strawberry items: Strawberry shortcake, chocolate strawberry shortcake milkshakes, Polar bear ice cream, strawberry milkshakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, strawberry sandwiches, strawberry pie, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry pizza, strawberry cobbler, strawberry brisket tacos, strawberry parfait, strawberry crepes, strawberry lemonade, strawberry cream puffs, strawberry kettle corn, strawberry fritters, and strawberry fudge. Say all that three times fast!
Ask A Farmer Strawberry Growers Association: Learn from real farmers the details of how strawberries grow and are harvested today!
Strawberry Contests: From a Strawberry soda throw down to deep-fried strawberry pie on a stick relay, you will encounter the quirkiest (but extremely entertaining) contests you’ll ever see at this festival. Have you ever wanted to enter a strawberry spaghetti eating contest? 2021 is your chance.
Can I buy fresh strawberries? YES! Take home deliciously juicy and fresh strawberries that are available inside the festival grounds from local farmers.
WHAT TO KNOW WHEN YOU GO
Parking: Parking is available onsite and in make-shift lots around the festival. Most lots ranged between $10- $15/RV
Each year the Strawberry festival offers special rates and discounts throughout the event. Details on those dates below
Senior Citizens Day: during the 11-day event, two days were dedicated to celebrating seniors. Patrons 60+ received $2 off admission.
Kids Day: One weekend day offering free admission to all kids!
American Heroes Day: All active, reserve and retired military veterans, along with Law Enforcement and First Responders are admitted free with a valid ID
Farm Worker Appreciation Day: Farmworkers receive free admission with a voucher from Astin Farms.
Looking for new and exciting destinations to head to on your next road trip? Check out our round-up featuring, The Hidden Gems of The Sunshine State for all your spring and summer inspiration.