The annual Florida Strawberry Festival attracts thousands to chomp into luscious berries, buying flats at bargain prices to cart away for jam and jellies and pies and pastries, but that’s not the only thing that brings out the crowds to Plant City in eastern Hillsborough County.
The food, especially the decadent fried everything and a variety of strawberry shortcakes, plus amusement park rides, live music, games of chance, and all-around enviable winter weather makes spending a day or two at the festival terrific family fun -- even with facemasks on.
And don’t forget about the agricultural showcase of Florida, where hogs race around a track, cows strut their stuff, and future farmers don dress corduroy blues to vie for the best-of-show for just about every kind of livestock.
Here is a look back in photos at the 2021 Strawberry Festival, which ran March 4-14, in Plant City.
Eight quarts of strawberries (a whole flat) can go a long way past fresh eating for the creative cook. This year’s pickings are likely to stretch into April. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Carnival games, outdoors and ample in variety, are a huge hit for kids and kids-at-heart visiting the annual Strawberry Festival. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Singles and couples stopped by one booth to get their caricatures made. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
A young Future Farmer of America shows off her prize steer. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Florida honey of all varieties is a popular buy at the Strawberry Festival and year-round throughout the state. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Few visitors get away from Florida without at least trying a little fried gator. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Fried butter on a stick? Clasp your chest and go for it. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Lots of kiddie rides at the Strawberry Festival keep moms and dads at least as happy as their offspring. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
An auctioneer runs the show as young men and women who raise livestock see their animals go for bids. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Would-be lumberjacks vie for top honors in speed and skill competitions. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Painted faces and little girls and boys go together like strawberries and shortcake during the festival. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Even the hogs get excited about racing around the ring for ribbons and rewards. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Super dogs and corn dogs and foot-longs and small bites fill the tummies of festival-goers. Photos by Kimberly DeFalco
Strawberry shortcake! Courtesy of 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival