Strawberry Festival opens in Plant City

Since 1930, the festival has grown, but has retrained its rustic focus

mclear@bradenton.comFebruary 27, 2014 

The Band Perry siblings Reid, left, Kimberly and Neil Perry will perform March 9 at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City.PHOTO PROVIDED

It now draws about a half-million people every year and features some of the biggest names in country and pop music. But at its core, the Florida Strawberry Festival is still a traditional fair that revels in the rural American lifestyle.

"As trite as it may sound, we're still a slice of Americana," said Paul Davis, the festival's general manager. "The festival started in 1930 as a celebration of the strawberry harvest, and we've never strayed far from that."

This year's festival in Plant City is set to open its 11-day run today.

Among the highlights: a huge midway, lots of free live entertainment, agricultural displays and competitions, and tons of food, much of it, obviously, strawberry-related.

There's also a full lineup of headlining music acts, two or three every day. A limited number of people are admitted free to the headlining shows on a first-come-first served basis, but others pay a reasonable charge for reserved seats. Here's the schedule:

Feb. 27: 10:30 a.m. Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra, 3:30 p.m. Shoji Tabuchi, 7:30 p.m. Styx

Feb. 28: 3:30 p.m. TBA, 7:30 p.m., Colt Ford

March 1: 3:30 p.m. Love and Theft, 7:30 p.m. Little Big Town

March 2: 3:30 p.m. Thompson Square, 7:30 p.m. Rascal Flatts

March 3: 3:30 p.m. Charley Pride, 7:30 p.m., Josh Turner

March 4: 3:30 p.m. Brenda Lee, 7:30 p.m. Kellie Pickler

March 5: 3:30 p.m. Crystal Gayle, 7:30 p.m. Lee Brice

March 6: 10:30 a.m. Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, 3:30 p.m. Oak Ridge Boys, 7:30 p.m. Third Day

March 7: 3:30 p.m. John Anderson, 7:30 p.m. Boyz II Men.

March 8: 1 p.m. Caroline Kole, 3:30 p.m. Dustin Lynch, 7:30 p.m. Jerrod Niemann.

March 9: 3:30 p.m. Easton Corbin, 7:30 p.m. The Band Perry.

Details: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 27-March 9, 303 Lemon St., Plant City. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 children 6-12, free for children 5 and younger; various prices for headliners. Information: 813-752-9194, wwwfloridastrawberryfestival.com.

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