Faith Miller

Plant City, Fla. has announced that it still intends to hold its annual “Florida Strawberry Festival” despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival is set to take place from March 4 to 14 with the theme, “All Aboard” and will feature carnival-style games, food and rides. 

Due to the pandemic, the festival’s concerts and live events have been cancelled. 

“I will miss all the concerts, but I understand that it was due to safety efforts to try and keep everyone safe from COVID-19,” freshman Rachel Horne said.

Concerts and other live acts in the past have been popular and are known to be sold out or packed. Performers of the past have included artists “Reba,” “Rascal Flatts,” “The Newsboys,” etc. When a viewer goes to look up information regarding concerts, they see a message alerting them of changes made. 

Despite the cancellation of live concerts and other acts, the festival still plans to hold its other headlining attractions, including “Belle City Midway” and “Neighborhood Village.”

Horne described that one of her favorite things to do at the festival is to try all of the fun new foods available at booths across the festival fairground, especially the funnel cakes and fried oreos.  

The festival committee has come up with a list of policies to help keep attendees and participants safe. The committee recommends  wearing masks while walking outside. They require masks when visitors are inside tents and buildings. 

The event will provide hand sanitizing stations for visitors. These policies are posted in a statement by Paul Davis on behalf of the festival on the official Florida Strawberry Festival website. 

“We have purchased 130 additional non-touch hand sanitizing stations which are positioned throughout the grounds in addition to the existing hand washing stations,” Davis said in a statement.

The statement also describes the guidelines for food vendors attending the festival this year.  

According to the policies for the event, regulations include the requirement of a mask and wearing gloves when businesses serve food, handle and dispose of trash, when handling used or dirty food service items or when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

They also ask food vendors to direct customers to seating areas after completing their purchases. 

“As you can see, we have taken enhanced health and safety measures for you, our visitors, and our staff,” Davis said. “We ask that you follow all posted instructions while visiting the Florida Strawberry Festival.” 

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