By Kathy L. Collins

This year’s Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show, presented by the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG), is an exemplary art show open to all Florida residents, including children. The annual show held during the Florida Strawberry Festival has grown in number and stature thanks to the hard work of chairperson Debra Bryant. This year the show saw 508 entries, up from last year’s 342.

The Best of Show winner is a graphite piece by Jennifer Watson of Temple Terrace. She received the purple rosette ribbon and a $300 monetary award. The judge for the show, Charles Miano, said of the piece, “I kept coming back to this piece. The artist did a great job with variation in textures and details. While it looks like a photograph, as detailed as it is, it still looks painterly.”

The winner of the Suncoast Credit Union Purchase Award is Brooke Stefanelli of Bradenton, and she receives the teal rosette purchase award ribbon. Community Relations manager Janette McElwain and local branch manager Derek Yates with Suncoast Credit Union chose the piece, and they will purchase Stefanelli’s piece for $500 and display it in the Plant City office throughout the coming year.

The Strawberry Theme Award winner is Anna Schermerhorn from Riverview. Her piece was chosen by a member of the Florida Strawberry Festival Association, and she will receive the red and white rosette ribbon and a $100 monetary prize.

In addition to the adult entries, there were 182 student entries. Thanks to the generosity of Jim Scott of Jarrett-Scott Ford, the youth winners also receive a monetary award.

This year there was over $4,000 in prize money available. This included the awards funded by community business leaders who contribute to prizes with the Business Leaders Awards. These leaders include Kay and John Sullivan with Winthrop Town Centre and Marie Gilmore with the Osprey Observer.

Bryant said of the success of the show, “We have always thought that, in order to build a show, you must increase the monetary prizes and create a better exhibit overall. The Florida Strawberry Festival Association has helped this growth immensely by moving us into the Milton E. Hull building which centrally located with a true gallery setting.”

Bryant added, “We are grateful to all of our award sponsors.”

For more information on this year’s show and to get information for next year, visit

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