Monday, March 07, 2016

Miscellany: Florida Strawberry Festival

I took a road trip to visit the Florida Strawberry Festival, an annual fair in Plant City.  The Festival attracts about 700,000 visitors from all around Florida (and beyond), who come for carnival rides, live music, and of course, a celebration of all things strawberry. After loading up at Fred's Market Restaurant, an all-you-can-eat buffet of delicious down-home food, I pushed my way through the crowds to see what the Festival was all about...

My first stop was the "Belmont Festival of Magic," a charmingly old-school magic performance. None of the illusions were earth-shattering, but it was all delivered in a warm, friendly manner.

Next up was a show by The Gothard Sisters, a trio of actual sisters performing Celtic and folk music and dance. I had heard their music before, but they actually sounded better live.

A lot of the stuff at the Strawberry Festival is standard for a large fair. Just like in the South Florida Fair, there are racing pigs, and they are popular:

Plant City is more agricultural and rural than Palm Beach County, of course, so the poultry, livestock, and plant showcases are more involved. They didn't have any cows giving birth when I was there, though.

There's a healthy Latino community in the area, and an entire stage was dedicated to ¡Hola! Plant City. The mariachi band was quite good, and the effect was heightened by the beautiful weather.

The headliners of the night were Donny and Marie Osmond. If you paid extra money, you could reserve a decent seat; otherwise, you were stuck in the grandstand furthest from the stage.

I brought home a lot of strawberries, which were actually pretty cheap (a full flat - 12 pints - went for $9). All in all, it was a great trip - if you like strawberries, that is.


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