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By Bonnie Mentel

This year’s Strawberry Festival will be held March 3-13 in Plant City. The festival is welcoming back award-winning artists Casting Crowns and bringing popular hip-hop artist, Lecrae to the stage. Lecrae will perform Saturday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m., while Casting Crowns will perform Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m.

“Lecrae is a phenomenon. He travels the country with a great message. He really resonates with young people. We are so excited to get him and we think he’ll be a great Saturday show,” said Paul Davis, general manager of the Strawberry Festival. “Casting Crowns will be on Thursday, the 10th of March. They’ve been here several times and they’re always a crowd pleaser,” he said.

Lecrae has released seven bestselling albums and two mixtapes, won a Grammy award, and was awarded a global distribution deal with Red Distribution/Sony Music for the record label he co-owns, Reach Records.

His new album, Anomaly, is getting a lot of attention. He’s the first artist in Billboard chart history to have a number one album spot on both the Gospel Albums and Billboard Top 200 list.

StrawberryLogoTriangle Talent, Inc., describes Lecrae as, “Quickly developing into one of the biggest music stories of the year and his Cinderella rise has been noted everywhere from Rolling Stone to The New York Times.”

Lecrae shares what he believes to be the secret to his success. He said, “I just have to have integrity and be true to who I am and what I believe in. Music doesn’t need to be categorized. It just needs to be good.”

Casting Crowns has toured all over the world while continuing to sell out in venues across the United States. According to Triangle Talent, Inc., Casting Crowns has sold 8.8 million albums to date.”

With talent such as this, it’s expected that these Christian artists will draw large crowds.

“We don’t necessarily sell out, but we sell really well. Casting Crowns is a huge fan favorite and Lecrae, it’s the first time we’ve had him, he sells really well in Central Florida. He’s a big draw. We think he’ll be a great show,” said Davis.

The Florida Strawberry Festival is a non-alcoholic venue that prides itself on being family-oriented. They have consistent on-ground entertainment every day. Fresh strawberries are available for purchase, as well as strawberry shortcake and festival treats offered by dozens of food vendors. Carnival rides, games, and attractions provide entertainment for all ages.

“We have something for everybody. It’s a great place to bring your family and it’s a great place to come and enjoy the best Florida has to offer,” Davis said.

Tickets can be purchased at the Amscot Main Ticket Office located at 2209 W. Oak Ave. in Plant City and via phone at 754-1996. Regular fair admission at the gate is $10 (ages 13+), $5 (ages 6-12.) Discount gate admission tickets are sold at Publix locations throughout West Central Florida. For more information, visit www.flstrawberryfestival.com.