Experience Florida’s Strawberry & Country Music Festival

If festival foods, music, and sunshine are things you enjoy, you must add the Florida Strawberry Festival to your bucket list. Minutes outside of Tampa, you will find the picturesque town of Plant City also known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. Berry Fest (as the locals call it) will take place from February 28 through March 10 and it is ranked as one of the top festivals in the United States.

Ripe Strawberries in a green container

Strawberry Treats
The true headliner of the festival is the ripe and delicious Strawberry. It can be enjoyed in just about any way you can think of during the festival. Taste everything from the classics like strawberry milkshakes to more surprising combinations including strawberry pizza. The most famous treat of the festival is the Strawberry Shortcake. Many vendors including a “Make Your Own” shortcake station, feature this staple dessert. Looking for an “insta-worthy” treat? Polar Bear Ice Cream, a participating vendor each year, takes strawberry milkshakes to a new level. The cup is dipped with fruity pebbles followed with toppings like whipped cream, sprinkles, shortcake, and, of course, a strawberry.

Strawberry Milkshake with donuts and colorful cereal

What’s the perfect way to officially crown yourself a foodie? An eating contest of course! Included with admission, you can enter to win up to eight different contests. The contests vary from chugging strawberry soda to who can pick stems off the fruit the fastest. The most entertaining eating contest is watching contestants try to eat a 4 lb. Strawberry Shortcake in 10 minutes. Yes, you read that right…4 lb! Contestants are given a fork for the first five minutes, after that they must finish off the shortcake by hand.

fired potato chips in a basket

Entertainment
Country Music’s top artists have been performing at the festival for decades. There are multiple performances throughout each day of the festival. This year’s weekend headliners feature Chris Janson, Brothers Osborne, and Old Dominion. For those who prefer the classics, attend performances by music legends such as Martina McBride, Steven Tyler, and Willie Nelson. The festival amphitheater received a major upgrade prior to the 2018 festival, the signature red benches add a fun pop of color for photos.

Night concert

The festival has a lot to offer and the best part is the free entertainment options between concerts and indulging. The annual livestock booths include a variety of animals such as cows, lambs and pigs. Catch Robinson’s Racing Pig’s daily to see the farm favorite race to a finish line. If you’re looking for live entertainment watch the first official Battle of the Bands on March 9. Twenty bands will give it their all to compete for a hefty cash prize of $15,000.

A crowd of people outside of an amphitheater

Local Tips
Breakaway from the festival to experience Plant City’s charm. Its historic downtown features many picture-worthy spots and local flavors.

Jump start your day at local breakfast & lunch spot, The Corner Store. They feature a tasty and sustainable menu and their produce is locally sourced. Try a signature sandwich with one of their tangy lemonade blends. Strawberry Lemonade is, of course, one of the options!

Get the perfect Instagram photo at the mural in the heart of Plant City or in the 2-acre Botanical Gardens at Metals & Nature, a local iron-welder.

Unwind after a weekend of festival activities with a brew at the nearby Two Henry’s Brewing, a brewery named after Florida’s greatest pioneers, Henry Plant, and Henry Flagler. Better yet – it’s attached to local vineyard, Keel & Curley, which makes wine blended with local Blueberries and Strawberries.

Strawberry wine on a counter with a goblet

What makes a trip to South Florida most worthwhile? The average temperature in the Tampa area during the month of March is a high of 77° and low 57°. It doesn’t get better than flip flop weather! A weekend at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City is the perfect winter escape this March.

To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in the Tampa area, visit our Destination Guide, or explore Hilton properties in Tampa below.

 

 

 

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This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Brittany B. Are you interested in traveling to Tampa Bay? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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