So I’m way behind on a bunch of things, one being the recap of my cousin Crystal’s trip to Florida in March.
I try to lure Crystal to Florida every year, and with the winters being what they are in Kentucky, it’s not really difficult. This year was particularly easy when I tempted her with the prospect of the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida.
Like any fair, the Strawberry Festival has its midway, livestock shows, and fair food, but there are a few things that make this festival stand out. Here are my top five favorite things about the Strawberry Festival (and why it was so easy to convince my cousin to get on a plane).
5. Keel and Curley/Two Henrys: This vineyard and brewery is just a hop, skip and a grapevine away from the fairgrounds and makes for a nice pit stop on the way in from Tampa. While I’m not so much into the fruity wines, I absolutely fell in love with their sea salt dark chocolate covered strawberry stout, and the roasted jalapeno blueberry porter deserves an honorable mention. Good luck getting Deana Carter’s Strawberry Wine out of your head after visiting this place.
4. Corvette Giveaway: This one is really for my husband. He has a Corvette fixation, and when he found out Stingray Chevrolet was raffling off a strawberry red Corvette for $5 a chance, he had to have a ticket. He was totally that guy, who after not getting the phone call that he won, called anyway just to double check.
3. The Specialty Foods: The Strawberry Festival has its share of fair food, including gyros, meats-on-sticks, and fried foods galore, but every year, they try to take it up a notch. This year’s must-haves were the strawberry burger (a grilled beef patty, rolled in crushed strawberry cookies, deep fried, topped with bacon, cheese, strawberries and strawberry glaze, served on a French toast bun) and the funnel bacon on a stick (bacon, dipped in funnel batter, deep fried, then topped with a maple syrup glaze and powdered sugar). I’d save my money on the strawberry burger, but the funnel bacon? Holy breakfast on a stick! We could have eaten ourselves sick on those things.
2. The Concerts: Where else can you see country great Loretta Lynn and R&B’s Boyz II Men on the same stage, on the same day, just hours apart? Be still my teenage heart!
1. The Strawberries! This is a no brainer. Strawberries are the reason this festival exists! Here you can buy a flat of local Plant City strawberries, strawberry pie, and strawberry ice cream. Whatever you do, don’t miss the build-your-own strawberry shortcake stand. Just don’t overdo it on the whipped cream like I did.
The Strawberry Festival is an annual event that takes place in Plant City, Florida. The next festival is set for March 3 – 13, 2016. For more information about the Strawberry Festival, click here.