Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Florida Strawberry Festival

(Avon Park, FL)  Hi 81  Lo 58 – A perfect day, weather-wise. A good day to go out and about, which is what we did. We picked up Jon and Kathleen this morning at 8:30am and headed out to Plant City, about 50 miles away, for the Florida Strawberry Festival.


This festival is a big deal around here. It’s almost as big as a state fair, with rides, vendors of all types, and strawberries galore! Plant City strawberries are considered the best in the state. And the festival is like strawberry overload! Here’s an example; this is one of the exhibits (a blue ribbon winner) of some kind of fancy dessert, but look at all the strawberries around it.

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And of course, if you like strawberry shortcake this is the place for you! A local church is famous for their “build your own” strawberry shortcake stand. You pay your money and get a cake (or bisquit), and you can pile the berries and whipped cream as high as you want. (Mom, eat your heart out! Your son Jim)

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Here I am piling it on!
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This lady tops your bowl with a whole strawberry, like the “cherry” on top.
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Dee, Jon, and Kathleen enjoying their strawberry shortcakes.
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After getting our fill, we wandered around the festival grounds for a couple of hours, checking out different vendors. And there were a lot of them, mostly food!

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Here’s some of the weird things that were offered.

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Sorry, but these just sound disgusting!  :)  During a rest break took these nice photos of each other. (And yes, those are real strawberries behind us.)

Kathleen and Jon.

Dee and Jim.

In our wanderings we noticed this.
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These sea lions were the stars of a show that’s performed several times during the day. We didn’t get to see the show, but their owner had a neat thing going. He took people’s pictures with the sea lions (for a price). Look how they posed with this family.

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It was adorable! One show we did see was “Timber Tina’s World Champion Lumberjills”
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They’re female lumberjacks, and they were fun to watch as they chopped…
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… sawed…
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… and log-rolled their way through an entertaining show.
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These were some pretty impressive women. They looked like they could handle themselves in about any situation! The owner and host of the show, Tina, was a contestant on the 12th season of Survivor (“Survivor Panama”). That made her my hero, as I have never missed an episode of Survivor. I got to talk with her for a few minutes, and just had to get a picture with her.

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We happened by this Seminole indian doing a wonderful tribal dance to pan flute music. It was quite beautiful to watch.

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We ended the day at the big sound stage to watch a concert by Lee Greenwood and Louise Mandrell.
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You had to pay for the chair seats on the floor, but we got to sit in a grandstand at the rear of the place for free.
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We didn’t mind, our view was just fine. They put on a good show, but I think most everyone was there mainly to hear Lee Greenwood sing his famous patriotic song “God Bless the USA.” He ended the show with that, and it was very moving, and very appropriate as it was military appreciation day and all veterans got free admission to the festival today. So both Jim and Jon got in free. It was a nice gesture by the festival organizers.

It seemed liked everyone on the grounds decided to leave for the day after the concert (including us). That made for gridlock in the parking lot. It seemed like we were leaving a NASCAR race. :)  We finally got on our way, and we stopped at a nice local restaurant on the way home for a relaxing dinner.

After dropping off Jon and Kathleen at their home, we got in around 8:15am. It was quite a full and busy day, but oh so much fun! Thanks Jon and Kathleen for sharing this wonderful day with us!


Jim and Sandie said...

What great fun. Those strawberries look just wonderful. And I love the sea lions. That I would have had to have a picture of. We saw Lee Greenwood years ago and the audience went nuts when he did that song.

Gin and Syl said...

When we were in Tampa, we went over to Parkesdale Farm in Plant City and had a delicious strawberry shortcake. It was great! I want to try their milkshakes next time.

Anonymous said...

We had Lee Greewood at our county fair a number of years ago. I heard on the radio today that the strawberries are going to be going for cheap in the grocery stores cause just waaay to many of them....and by looking at your photos they do have plenty of them.
Deep fried cheese isnt to bad if your a big of cheese. And the chocolate cover bacon I had some of that in Wisconsin Dells wasnt to bad at all...but really spendy ffor a small piece was like $3.00.

Chuck from AL, MN

Laurie and George said...

We can't wait to be going to some of these festivals. Great time!

Donna W. said...

Believe it our not fried pickles is a big seller at the restaurant.
Sounds like you had a really great day...Uuummmmm strawberry shortcake w/ lots of whipped cream, a meal in itself.
And free concert to boot what a deal

Molly and Bob said...

Love the strawberry shortcake there!! Seems like a perfectly lovely day Dee...thanks for sharing!! Hugs to both of you...TJH!! :)