Jasmine Knox

Contributing Writer

The tradition of the Plant City Strawberry Festival began in 1930 when members of the Plant City Lions Club decided to organize a celebration of the harvest of the Plant City strawberries. Today, the festival is a reflection of the history and culture of Plant City and a place for vendors of all types to come together and market their goods.

This year’s annual Strawberry Festival promises to provide huge headlining artists, thrilling rides, delicious food and plenty of Polk County and Plant City tradition.

According to last year’s Strawberry Queen Jessi Rae Varnum, there are a few “must-dos” while at the strawberry festival.

You have to get strawberry shortcake

“I like Alessi Bakery. I’m more of a cake person than a biscuit person. You can either get the biscuit or the cake,” Varnum said. Some of the other bakeries present at the festival will include Toufayan Bakery and Frankfurt’s Bakery.

Go to a concert.

“Even if you sit in the grandstands, it’s such a fun experience. And they’re free. I saw Taylor Swift there,” Varnum said. “I love Switchfoot, and they came one year. Blake Shelton was there, this past year Little Big Town was there and they were great. There’s just great lineups every year.” With an emphasis on country music, some of the most anticipated performers this year include Alabama, Scotty McCreery, Hunter Hayes, Boyz II Men, John Legend, Parmalee and Reba.

Try the chocolate covered bacon.

According to Varnum, the chocolate covered bacon is sold by Maverick’s and can be found by the kid’s section.

Ride the rides.

“My favorite is Big Ben ‘cause it drops and I don’t like spinning rides,” Varnum said. The festival offers a variety of different rides from thrilling, upside-down rides to fun kiddie rides.

Visit vendors.

“I love going around and seeing all of the vendors. They embody what Plant City is,” Varum said. With local craft- makers, artists and chefs, there is a ven- dor for everyone. According to the former queen, the best way to prepare is to bring money and to keep an open mind. “I think people think it’s a really small festival, but it’s huge,” Varnum said.

The 2015 Strawberry Festival will be held from Feb. 27 through March 9. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. For more information including entertainment schedules and maps, you can visit the Strawberry Festival’s website at flstrawberryfestival.com.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons