Mr. and Miss Berry, the Florida Strawberry Festival’s official mascots, are looking forward to welcoming residents to the 11-day event next month.

It is almost that time of year again. The 86th annual Florida Strawberry Festival is kicking off next month and inviting residents to safely climb “All Aboard!” with delicious food and fun events for the whole family.

Starting on Thursday, March 4 and running for 11 days, the event celebrates the strawberry harvest in Eastern Hillsborough County with vendors, livestock shows, exhibits of commerce and, of course, strawberry shortcake.

“We wanted the theme this year to reflect our enthusiasm for togetherness,” said Florida Strawberry Festival President Paul Davis. “So, we thought it would be fitting to play off of that with a railroad theme and we feel like this is a concept our community will really jump on board with, so to speak.”

Entertainment will kick off on March 4 with Florida’s Frank Sinatra at 10:30 a.m. on the Wish Farms Variety Stage. Other performers on this stage include Mike Walker and Jimmy Mazz, who will perform on Thursday, March 11 at 10:30 a.m.

The Showcase Tent will feature artists such as Dennis Lee, Born Lonesome, Electric Woodshed and Pastor Calvin ‘Pee Wee’ Callins. There will also be a talent show on both Saturdays of the festival and performances by The Detectives, Bound No More, Joe’s Garage Band and the First Baptist Church of Plant City’s Worship Team. The Smithfield Strawberry Tent will host The Stephanie Ann Show and Kazual.

On grounds, guests will be able to see magic shows, circus acts, pig races, a lumber jack show, the Dakin Dairy Farms Milking Parlor, Runa Pacha “Indian World,” Johnny D and Sheriff Max Magnum and can meet the festival’s official mascots, Mr. and Miss Berry.

“We look forward to seeing our guests and hope they will enjoy all the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival has to offer,” said Davis. “It is our goal for everyone who walks through our gate to leave satisfied, knowing we offered them something truly special.”

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.floridastrawberryfestival.com or search for the festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.