Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Florida Strawberry Festival

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 18, 2012

I’ve always wanted to attend the Florida Strawberry Festival and we finally got the chance a few weeks ago. I skipped out on the last day of Sleuthfest so we could pile into the car and drive west on I-4 to Plant City.

From here we followed signs to the festival. Parking was haphazard in school parking lots or on people’s lawns where they charged $4-$5 for the day. From most lots, it was a few blocks walk to the festival grounds. Admission costs $10 per person for adults.

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Once through the gate, we stared in awe at the carnival rides, games of chance, junk food booths, schlock vendors, and more. We never did find the livestock but we strode through several buildings with flea market type stalls. We stopped in a historical exhibit and looked at the strawberry patch demo.

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All types of goods were for sale but these didn’t interest us. We’d come for the food. As it was lunchtime, we grabbed hot dogs and then couldn’t resist melted mozzarella sticks. Now for dessert.

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Not only could you buy flats of fresh strawberries, but you could sample all sorts of concoctions like strawberry funnel cakes; strawberry sundaes, smoothies, and milkshakes; strawberry pies and cookies; chocolate-dipped strawberries. Besides the fruity treats, every other fast food or junk snack you’ve ever encountered can be found at this fairground.

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The best offer was the make-your-own strawberry shortcake sponsored by a church group. This venture must bring them enough income for the year. We paid $3.50 each. In return, you get a plastic bowl and a fork. You get in line and a lady scoops a round shortcake into your vessel. Then you proceed along and ladle syrupy strawberries into the bowl followed by dollops of frothy whipped cream.

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Sitting at a picnic table or standing among the mob, you spoon the sweet gooey mess into your mouth. By the time you reach the last morsel, you’re sick to death of strawberries. At least, we couldn’t look at another strawberry nor buy so much as a pint of them on our exit.

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We did buy the strawberry bread to take home from one of the farm vendors, and that was well worth it. It’s delicious and not too sweet, unlike the cookie sample that we couldn’t finish. I’d definitely buy this again. But I think I’ll stick to blueberries for a while, thank you.

Nancy at Festival

The Queen and the Princess

So what good strawberry recipes do you have to share?

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14 Responses to “Florida Strawberry Festival”

  1. Maureen Hayes said

    Oh you are making me crave strawberries! I never made it to the festival when I lived down there, but it sounds like fun. I like to use strawberries in my salads. I put them on spinach salad and add hard boiled eggs, bacon, mushrooms, blue cheese nuts and some dressing -YUM!

  2. Maureen, I like strawberries in salads at restaurants, but I never thought of adding them at home. Thanks for the idea! There is the summer salad at Crisper’s that I like with strawberries, sugared walnuts, etc. I also like strawberries with Honey Nut Cheerios in the morning. I should try adding them to my bran muffin recipe.

  3. I love the strawberry festival! If it’s blueberries you want, try the Wellborn Blueberry Festival. It’s the first Saturday in June. It’s not huge (neither is Wellborn!), but the blueberries are great and the price is affordable. Wellborn is located midway between Lake City and Live Oak in North Florida.

  4. Jeanne Meeks - said

    Just dip them in dark chocolate! Yum.

  5. Thanks, Cheryl, I’d never heard of that festival before. Cool! Florida has so many neat foody fairs. I’d like to attend the garlic festival in Delray one year, too.

    Jeanne, strawberries in dark chocolate are always good. Here is a site I use to send these as gifts: http://www.berries.com/

  6. Nancy Bradford said

    Went once to the strawberry festival many years ago and willnever go back. They put in way to many things for the size of the land that is used. They need to find someother place to hol it is they want to keep having it. We have found that you can get a better shortcake at Parksdale fruit stand in Plant City and the crowds are nothing like the festival.

  7. That’s a good tip about the fruit stand, Nancy. Thanks for passing it along. It’s fun to go to the festival one time, though, to see what it’s like–if you don’t mind the crowds.

  8. Strawberries are my favorite.. I love that you and your husband do so many things together. All kinds of cool things!
    Glad you had fun!

  9. Yes, Mary, I’m fortunate that my husband likes to accompany me everywhere. I probably wouldn’t go to so many places on my own.

  10. Ann said

    Sounds like a fun festival. I enjoy reading about the things you do in Florida (always makes me wish I still lived there). I like making strawberry shortcakes. Strawberries tossed with just a little sugar and a portion of the sweetened strawberries pureed. Spooned over a sweet biscuit with butter pecan ice cream and whipped cream. Yum!

  11. Ann, that sounds yummy! I like fruit desserts. Makes you feel you’re eating something healthy.

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