More than 24 world-famous singers will grace the stage at the 2023 Strawberry Festival.

This spring marks the 88th annual Florida Strawberry Festival, which takes place for 11 days beginning from Thursday, March 2 through Sunday, March 12. This anticipated annual event has become one of the best festivals in the nation, ranks among the Top 40 Fairs in North America and is visited by more than 500,000 guests each year. It’s not only known for its strawberry shortcakes, carnival games, livestock shows, food vendors and thrilling midway rides, but it has also become recognized for hosting world-famous headline entertainment.

According to Lee Bakst, assistant general manager of the Florida Strawberry Festival, there are more than 24 artists performing on the Strawberry Festival stage this year. “We have a variety of acts and feel like we have touched all music genres,” said Bakst. According to past numbers, Bakst expects approximately 100,000 concertgoers in attendance over the course of the 11-day festival.

As in years past, The Oak Ridge Boys kick-off the festival with their afternoon performance from their Front Porch Singin’ Tour. In 2018, The Oak Ridge Boys were the first performers to christen the Strawberry Festival’s new $5.5 million amphitheater.

Some of the most anticipated shows include award-winning, Grammy-nominated country star Walker Hayes on March 2; country legend Willie Nelson and Family as well as the band Halestorm on Friday, March 3; award-winning country singer Sara Evans and the multitalented Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges on Saturday, March 4; and The Gatlin Brothers and Chris Young on Sunday, March 5.

Monday, March 6 includes two performers: Neal McCoy and Josh Turner. Country idol Tanya Tucker is performing on stage on Wednesday, March 8; also performing on March 8 are The Jacksons, the legendary brothers of popstar Michael Jackson — Jackie, Tito, Jermain and Marlon. Rounding out the rest of the week is Las Vegas icon Wayne Newton, Train, Sawyer Brown, and the Isley Brothers. The festival ends with the Southern rock iconic band and native Floridians Lynyrd Skynyrd with lead singer Johnny Van Zant.

In addition, two major Christian artists will be performing at this year’s festival: For King & Country and CeCe Winans. For King & Country is a Grammy-winning artist and song-writing brother duo — Joel and Luke Smallbone. CeCe Winans is the best-selling female gospel artist of all time and has influenced a generation of vocalists over the course of her long career. For King & Country will be performing on Thursday, March 9. CeCe Winans is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, March 7.

For concert dates, times to purchase tickets and a full list of entertainers, visit Tickets can also be purchased at the Amscot Main Ticket Office, located at 2209 W. Oak Ave. in Plant City, or by calling 813-754-1996.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.