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Florida Strawberry Festival: March 3-13, 2022

Last updated on November 13th, 2021 at 07:37 am


PLANT CITY — With a return to “normal” in 2022, the Florida Strawberry Festival has big plans after downsizing last year.

Big-name concert acts on the 11,000-seat Wish Farms Sound Stage are expected to return, and there will continue to be free local entertainment at other venues around the festival site.

Plenty of vendors will be on site, and youth livestock competitions, a highlight of the festival, will shine once again.

The fabulous Belle City Midway is up and running, and you’ll still be able to buy your favorite carnival foods.

Gate admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children 6-12. Children under 6 are free.



florida strawberry festival make your own shortcake
A crowd favorite: Make your own shortcake to support the charities of St. Clement Catholic Church in Plant City.

Florida Strawberry Festival celebrates the harvest

Plant City is the agricultural hub of endless strawberry fields, an agricultural area where folks have been harvesting and packaging strawberries since the 19th Century.

Every year since 1930, residents show off their crops at harvest time with Florida’s largest agricultural festival, attracting more than a half-million people every year, rivalling any state fair in the country with its agricultural displays, livestock shows, arts and crafts, local food, music concerts and carnival midway.

The Florida Strawberry Festival marks its 87th year in 2022.

On and off the festival grounds, you will have ample opportunity to buy flats of strawberries at bargain prices — 12 pints for as little as $10! We found the most convenient way to buy strawberries was after leaving the festival at any one of dozens of pop-up roadside stands manned by local residents.

— Bob Rountree, co-publisher

The 2022 Strawberry Festival

florida strawberry festival
Ferris wheel on the midway at the Florida Strawberry Festival


Entertainment

Wish Farms Soundstage

Centerpiece of the festival, drawing full houses for some of the nation’s top entertainers in rock, pop and country music. These headline concerts were cancelled in 2021 due to coronavirus concerns, but a full


Free Entertainment

There will continue to be free entertainment on multiple stages throughout the festival grounds with limited seating.


Food and Drink

You’ll find the usual fair food in the Midway, and a lot of unusual taste treats throughout the fairgrounds.

But you’ll find no beer or wine or alcohol in any form.

We love the variations on strawberries throughout the festival grounds. From strawberry pizza (really!) and Make Your Own Strawberry Shortcake to Strawberry Cheesecake Elephant Ears!


You can buy pints and flats of strawberries at the festival, but you’re better off waiting until you leave and buy them from the many street vendors surrounding the festival site. (Photo by Bob Rountree)

The Midway

The Belle City Midway is still scheduled in 2021 and opens daily at noon except on Saturday, Sunday and Monday when it opens at 10:00 a.m.

All-day ride passes and other wristband special will be available on special days.

For more information, visit the festival’s Belle City Midway web page.

Daily Midway Schedule

New York Yankees Kiddie Korral:
Daily from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday–Friday:
12:00 noon – 11:00 p.m.
*On Friday, March 6th, Midway closes just before 10:00 p.m. and reopens from 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. for Moonlight Magic

Weekends & Monday:
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.


Getting There

Easily accessible from Interstate 4 via Exits 17, 19 and 21. Follow the signs.

From Tampa: Take I-4 east 18 miles to the Thonotosassa Road exit 19 in Plant City, then go south on Woodrow Wilson to West Oak Ave.

From Orlando: Take I-4 west approximately 56 miles to the Thonotosassa Road exit 19 in Plant City, then go south on Woodrow Wilson to West Oak Ave.

From South Florida: Take Florida’s Turnpike to Exit 193 and follow State Road 60 to State Road 570. Take 570 to I-4 and go west to Thonotasassa Road, Exit 19.

From Gainesville: Take I-75 south to I-4, then east to Thonotasassa Road, Exit 19.

From Daytona Beach: Take I-4 west, through Orlando, to Exit 19, Thonotasassa Road in Plant City.


Parking Tips

Parking is $5 on the festival grounds and includes free tram service to the entrance gates. Parking is also offered at private lots, churches and nearby schools for $10-$15.

It pays to cruise around the festival site for parking, if traffic permits.

You will find plenty of official signage that will take you down side streets to good parking, so don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten path a little.

Try to get into one of the official lots, which have shuttles to the entrance gates.

On a busy day last year, we were still able to find $5 parking on the festival grounds in the Gray parking lot, even as long lines of cars clogged other entrances and many private parking lots were full.

To get to our secret entrance to the Gray Lot, come in from the east on U.S. 92 (West Baker Street) and turn right onto Seminole Lakes Blvd, which takes you through a nondescript residential neighborhood. In about a quarter mile, you’ll see the entrance. The only signs you’ll see are at the entrance gate. Once inside, park near the tram station.


Places to Stay

Vacation Home Rentals


Bed and Breakfasts

Strawberry House B&B in the downtown Historic District, near antique shops, dining and shopping. The inn has four rooms with private baths. 805 N. Wheeler Street, Plant City, FL 33563. Call (813) 759-0279 or book online.

Sparkman House B&B in Plant City’s historic district. 1905 Queen Anne style house boasts 12-foot ceilings, wrap-around porch, 5 bedrooms in the main house plus a carriage house. 707 N. Collins St. Plant City, Fl 33563. Call 813-787-6068 or book online.

Palmer House. Country B&B with grandfather oaks features 5 bedrooms, pool and a hot tub. 15 miles from Plant City at 2221 Hinton Ranch Rd, Lithia, FL 33547. Call (813) 654-0961 or book online.


Hotels and motels

Reserve lodging near Plant City on Hotels.com             (Sponsored)


Campgrounds near Plant City

Campsite at Hillsborough River State Park near Tampa
Campsite at Hillsborough River State Park

My wife and I camped at Hillsborough River State Park for a week in our travel trailer and loved it. We scheduled our festival visits around musical performances we wanted to see. On the off days, we kayak the river, hike a few trails, took a day trip to Ybor City in Tampa and visited a friend in Tarpon Springs.

This year, we have already booked our sites at Hillsborough River SP and Alafia River State Park, where we plan to paddle the Alafia River and ride the park’s challenging off-road bike trails.

Plant City is on I-4, between Orlando and Tampa, so there are many campgrounds from which to choose. These are our favorites:

Hillsborough River State Park. 15402 U.S. 301 North, Thonotosassas. 20 miles to Plant City. State park has 112 sites with water, electric, picnic tables, fire ring. Dump station on site. Activities include fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Seven miles of nature trails for hikers. Bicycles permitted on the 2.2-mile Park Loop and the 1.6-mile Wetlands Restoration Trail. Rates: $24 per night, includes water and electric. Some walk-on sites. Reservations accepted by phone, 800-326-3521, or online through ReserveAmerica

Read more: Hillsborough River State Park offers a wilderness experience near Tampa


Mountain biking trail at Alafia River State Park. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
Mountain biking trail at Alafia River State Park. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Alafia River State Park, County Road 39 S, Lithia. 18 miles to Plant City. Alafia has some of the most challenging off-road bicycle trails in Florida, rambling 17 miles through varying elevations. Hikers and equestrians enjoy another 20 miles of hiking and horse trails. Access to lakes and the river for kayaks and canoes, as well as fishing. Campground lies along the conifer-lined shore of Lake Alafia with great views. There are 30 spacious campsites with electric, water, picnic tables and a fire ring.  Rates: $22 per night. Reservations accepted by phone, 800-326-3521, or online through ReserveAmerica.

Read more: Alafia River: Kayaking through tame rapids a half hour from Tampa


Edward Meddard Park. Photo by Bob Rountree.

Edward Medard Park and Reservoir, 5276 Panther Loop, Plant City. 10 miles from Plant City. This 1200-acre park is co-managed by Hillsborough County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District and includes a 700-acre reservoir with a white sand beach and boat access for paddlers and fisherman. Equestrians (bring your own horse) enjoy a 3.25-mile bridle path. There are 40 campsites with water, electric, picnic tables and grills on two heavily wooded loops near the lake. Reservations are not accepted and sites are $24 per night, first come, first served. ($18 for seniors). Call (813) 975-2160 for more information, or visit their web site: Edward Medard Park and Reservoir

Read more: Best Camping Near Tampa: 9 Choice Campgrounds


Campsite at Lithia Springs Park near Tampa
Campsite at Lithia Springs Park near Tampa (Photo by Bob Rountree)

Lithia Springs County Park, 3932 Lithia Springs Road, Lithia. 18 miles from Plant City. This county campground has 40 sites for RV, tents and trailers with fire ring, picnic table, water and electric hookups. Dump station on site. I love this 160-acre park for its natural spring swimming hole. The spring flows into the Alafia River for canoeing and kayaking. Rates: $24 ($18 for seniors). No reservations accepted. Walk-ons only, first come, first served. Credit cards are not accepted. Call (813) 744-5572 for more information.

Read more: Camping Near Tampa: Lithia Springs Park


Camping at the fairgrounds

There is an RV lot immediately west of the festival grounds.

For inquiries about reserving a space, call the Festival office at 813-752-9194 ext. 233.

This campground is only open during the Festival.


More nearby camping:

Best Camping Near Tampa: 9 Choice Campgrounds

Woodsy cabins near Orlando

7 cool parks for camping near Disney


Things To Do in Plant City

Parkesdale Farmers Market, Plant City
Parkesdale Farmers Market, Plant City

Parkesdale Farm Market, www.parkesdale.com The largest family operated strawberry and citrus market in Florida, this farm harvests more than 3 million pounds of strawberries each year. You can also find plenty of citrus and other locally grown produce. 3702 W. Baker Street, Plant City,  FL 33563, (813) 752-0502

Fred's Southern Kitchen
Fred’s Southern Kitchen

Fred’s Southern Kitchen, www.fredsmarket.com The Johnson family has turned Southern cooking into a major attraction around Plant City, especially now that the legendary Branch Ranch Dining Room has closed. Fred’s Southern Kitchen is ranked No. 1 of 39 restaurants in Plant City on TripAdvisor. 1401 W. MLK Blvd., Plant City, FL 33563, (813) 752-7763


It’ll be a strawberry pickin’ good time!

If you want to avoid the crowds during the Strawberry Festival, you can visit Plant City any time during the berry-picking season — January through April — and be immersed in the strawberry culture. (Blueberries are also grown here, with the harvest’s peak in May.)

Although most commercial growers in the area do not allow you to pick your own strawberries, there are a few family farms that do. Here’s one that comes recommended by readers at pickyourown.org: Spivey Farms, 6101 South County Road 39, Plant City, FL 33567 (813) 650-8999 (Call for hours)

Tips for picking your own strawberries:

  • Dress comfortably. Wear loose fit clothing.
  • Wear a hat or cap and bring sunscreen.
  • Bring your own containers.
  • If you plan to spend the day, take ice to keep berries cool.
  • Select only firm, ripe berries.
  • Be careful not to remove the tops of the berries.
  • Pick every ripe berry on each plant rather than jumping from plant to plant.

Did you pick too many strawberries? Check out Louise Sanchez’ Herbs, Crafts and Gifts blog about canning strawberries that her husband picked at the Strawberry Palace on U.S. 60 in Plant City.


Adventures near Plant City:

Birding near Lakeland: Circle B Bar Reserve

Van Fleet Bike Trail: 29 Miles of Rural Solitude

Withlacoochee River: Scenic kayak trail

Major League Baseball: Spring Training Guide

Manatees: Where to see manatees in Florida


Related Links

Florida Strawberry Festival

Yelp! Reviews of the Strawberry Festival

Florida Strawberry Growers Association

A note from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm details when planning your trip by following the links in this article.

This article is the property of FloridaRambler.com and is protected by U.S. Copyright Law. Re-publication without written permission is against the law.


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Deborah Haver

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

What is the deadline entry date for the fine arts show in 2021

Bob Rountree

Thursday 13th of August 2020

For information about exhibits or vendor applications, please go directly to the official festival web site: https://flstrawberryfestival.com/

Sylvia Hamby

Monday 6th of January 2020

Do senior citizens get in free on any of the days?

Bob Rountree

Monday 6th of January 2020

Seniors 60 or older get $2 off the gate admission of $10 on Thursdays, which are Senior Days.The first 250 Florida Blue Medicare Members to enter the Strawberry Festival on either Senior Day Thursday, February 27th or Thursday, March 5th will receive free entry compliments of Florida Blue. Show your Member ID card at the gate to receive free entry.

pat wolfe

Thursday 14th of November 2019

any bus trips from Ft myers, fl

Bob Rountree

Friday 15th of November 2019

Hi Pat! That's a great question!! It appears that in past years, Charlotte County Parks and Recreation has sponsored charters to the Strawberry Festival from Port Charlotte. Their telephone number is (941) 625-7529. You might also consider regular Greyhound Service from Fort Myers to Tampa ($12 economy, 3 hours 40 minutes). Then book an Uber to take you directly from the Tampa Greyhound Station to Plant City ($31-$37). Let us know what you decide!

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