Photo by: Kayla Schnidler

Ashley Augusty, Staff Writer

What is the most delicious fruit in the world? Cantaloupes, watermelons or maybe even blueberries?  Well the folks of plant city would like to say the strawberry. The strawberry festival that took place right in the heart of Lemon Street has become the annual convention for family, fun and good food.  The whole festival was dedicated to our deliciously sweet friend, the strawberry. Merriments of the occasion took place in three major events.

Kicking off the festival was strawberry parade, showcased by the local high school band. The marching band was followed by strawberry dancers that moved to the joyous tunes blaring from the symphony of instruments. A crowd of strawberry painted faces and berry costumes strolled down the street as raining showers of beads were caught by the parade bystanders. Handcrafted floats, decorations and shirts were on display as the animated parade participants gladly modeled them off. Strawberry themed cars and bikes definitely topped off this event and were worthy of an ultimate “Kodak moment” memory.

A big attraction of the festivities was the carnival where rides and delicious greasy foods were up for grabs. Families couldn’t resist spending the day outside with the nice weather or spending money on the well-priced tickets for the park. The rustic styled rides only added to the close-to-home theme that hovered in the friendly atmosphere. The Ferris wheel gave a great view of the entire park, and the swinging boat was sure to turn your stomach. The classic ride selections attributed to the park’s vibrant, small town theme. There were plenty of vendors and attractions so the lines moved remotely fast. People of all ages were able to ride anything they desired with just a twenty dollar wrist band. If the thrill of the rides weren’t appealing, there were plenty of gaming vendors for families to take a chance of winning overly large and cuddly stuffed animals or tiny, playful goldfish.

Finally the triple threat strawberry festival included a concert ground, where numerous artist ranging in all genres of music, performed on different days. Performers varied from well-known bands to local musicians. The audience enjoyed smaller artist like Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra, Lecrae and Ray Stevens.

“It was a nice change to see a small town artist get on stage and get the crowd hyped up” said Drew Bradley.”

The main attraction of the show were chart topping major artists like Charlie Wilson, The Band Perry and Echosmith who played towards the end of the festival.

“It was my first time going to the Strawberry Festival, and I was shocked to be able to see one of my favorite bands, Echosmith, there. I will definitely be there next year” said Jasmine Bratton.

This was one of my favorite festivals to go to. Parking wasn’t even an issue, which was surprising to me. Residents in the neighborhood were open to let people park on their yards for a small fee. Police and traffic officers were kind enough aid in helping you find the best parking. Despite the immense amount of people and traffic jams, it was hard not to wear a smile at such a fun event. And let’s not forget the amazing amount of mouth-watering strawberries for sale! The festival was well organized and structured while still radiating the energy of a simple small town event. I had a great time and I encourage everyone to go to next year’s festival. I will definitely be returning for the fun, food, and the strawberries.