The Florida Strawberry Festival is back, and it’s 11 days of live music, great food, fun rides, and immersive shows in Plant City. The festival runs through March 12. Each spring more than 500,000 visitors make the trip out to Plant City for wild rides, performances, and inventive strawberry-based treats.
The Florida Strawberry Festival represents a piece of Americana, a time in American history when fairs and festivals brought communities together through celebrations of their harvests. It has continued to grow in popularity year after year through the preservation of this heritage. Central to its focus, the Festival continues to preserve and enhance the agricultural and historical legacy of the Florida strawberry.
Musicians, water shows, exhibits, magicians, big wheels and so much more comprise this year’s lineup of new free entertainment. An assortment of hearty eats and sweet strawberry treats top the list of new foods.
New rides and desserts arrive at Strawberry Festival
“New food, new entertainment, new rides, new vendors, and our new Special Smiles Day event – this year is exceptional,” said Florida Strawberry Festival President Paul Davis. “Many vendors have brought back their staple food items, we all know King Strawberry Shortcake is paramount, and the southern hospitality here can’t be beat! BerryFest23 will be one for the books.
One of the biggest new attractions this year is the Berry Big Wheel. The Berry Big Wheel features 36 fully enclosed, colorful gondolas, each holding up to six riders and accessible seating is available. The wheel spins happy riders for a full ten minutes, and costs $7 per person. Weighing 400,000 pounds and towering 15 stories high, the wheel is strung with 528,000 eye-catching, vibrant, energy-saving LED lights. The Berry Big Wheel is located on East Independent, near Neighborhood Village and sponsored by The Bank of Tampa.
Witness a flying water circus in Plant City
This year’s festivities also include a Flying Water Circus. It will include incredible demonstrations and stunts as done in the legendary, pioneering, Tommy Bartlett Show. A jet pack is thrust 40-50 ft. in the air. Once high in the air, talented stuntmen perform aerial daredevil turns, flips and breath-taking stunts all inside and above an Olympic size pool.
The jet packs are powered by a jet ski with an attached hose, sending them up with an enormous thrust. The show is all accompanied by exciting music and an emcee who explains the mechanics and dangers of the sport and that this is a sport only for professionals. Nerveless Nocks Jetpack Flying Water Circus will be performing near the Softub Spas Carriage House daily at 12:30pm, 3:30pm and 6:30pm and is sponsored by Visions of Outdoor Living.
Of course, visitors are also bound to get hungry, and this year’s event features some wild new creations you have to see to believe. Here’s a quick list curated festival organizers:
The top new food items you have to try
Very Berry Battered Corn Dog: A sweet and salty combination that is too delicious to pass up! A berry-battered corndog, deep fried until golden brown and served with a sweet strawberry syrup. Located at the Dessert Factory near Edwards Street on the West side of the festival grounds.
Mac Stack: A hunk of sweet cornbread, piled high with a savory helping of slow roasted pulled pork, a dollop of mac-n-cheese with BBQ beans, tangy coleslaw and drizzled with barbeque sauce. Located at Piggy Palace on the Southside of the festival grounds.
Langos Ear: A langos is a Hungarian deep-fried flatbread. The Best Around has combined their traditional elephant ear batter with this European recipe to make a savory garlic-buttered flatbread, topped with a homemade cream cheese and sour cream blend and sprinkled with real bacon crumbles. Located on the North side of the Entenmann’s Strawberry Tent.
Hard pumpkin pie ice cream is on the menu
Mrs. E’s Strawberry Freeze” An iced strawberries and cream refresher! A delightful fresh strawberry flavored snowball, coupled with condensed milk and topped with whipped cream and a chocolate dipped strawberry. It tastes as good as it looks! Located at A&M Concessions on Edwards Street.
Pumpkin Patch with a Strawberry Twist: Homemade hard pumpkin ice cream garnished with a generous serving of marshmallows and graham cracker crumbles, a maple syrup drizzle and topped with fresh Plant City strawberries. This sweet treat is at Polar Bear Concessions located on East Independent near Neighborhood Village.
A full lineup of musical performances, and featured vendors can be found on the Strawberry Festival’s website. The event takes place 303 BerryFest Place March 2-13 in Plant City. Tickets can be reserved in advance online.
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