Strawberry Festival

strawberry-festivalPLANT CITY – Hundreds of people were waiting in lines this morning when the gates opened at 10 for the Florida Strawberry Festival’s 75th anniversary.

The 11-day festival includes livestock shows, some of the biggest names in country music, and of course, strawberry shortcake.

“It’s a beautiful day. It is a great event and it looks like everyone is having a good time,” said Shelby Bender, president of the East Hillsborough Historical Society, which operates a shortcake booth.

Her morning customers included Olive Schoonmaker, who was visiting the festival for the first time. She said the shortcake was “absolutely fantastic.”

Dianne Benoit, who owns the Strawberry Barn concession, said coffee and hot chocolate were big sellers, partly due to the cold and partly due to the senior citizen discount she was offering. Today is Senior Day at the festival and patrons 60 and older get $2 discount on $10 gate admission.

The festival’s Web address is For information, call the ticket office at (813) 754-1996.

For directions, a midway and concert schedule and more, go to, Keyword: “Strawberry 2010.”

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