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March 5, 2021

Navigating the Florida Strawberry Festival with Kids

By Laura Byrne

Photo by the Florida Strawberry Festival.

The Florida Strawberry Festival is back with $600,000 invested in COVID precautions to keep the event going while keeping families safe.

There are a few things you’ll notice that are different this year, including a lot more hand sanitizing stations, reminders to social distance, and a face mask requirement when indoors. Pretty much everything what we’ve become accustomed to over the last year. You can read more about the festival’s COVID precautions here.

Since you’re on our site and reading this article, you’re likely planning to attend with the kids, so we wanted to share some pro tips for the best day ever at the Florida Strawberry Festival. We got some help from event planners who also happen to be parents of little kids, so you know they’ve got the scoop!

First things first. 

The festival runs March 4 through March 14, 2021 in Plant City from 10:00 am-10:00 pm. This year’s theme is ‘All Aboard”, symbolic of bringing people together during its 86th year.

Admission is $10 for adults ages 13 and older, $5 for kids ages 6-12 and kids 5 and younger are FREE. There are special discount days: Kids get in free on Saturday, March 6 and Tuesday, March 9, and military and first responders get free admission on Wednesday, March 10 with valid ID.

You can also pick up discounted tickets at most Publix stores-tickets come down to $8 for adults and $4 for kids. Here’s a list of participating Publix stores.

Getting There and Parking

As far as getting to the Florida Strawberry Festival, here are the recommended routes.

Nothing is worse than getting to an event and then not being able to find a parking spot! There are three official lots around the event: Blue, Gray and Red Parking Lots off Ritter Street, Highway 92 or Highway 574. Parking is $5 for most cars and vehicles and goes up as your vehicle size gets bigger. There is a tram that will take you the entrance at Gate 10.

You can also park in non-festival lots like at Bryan Elementary School and Tomlin Middle School.

Map Out Your Day

A little bit of planning ahead is always a good idea, especially when you are going to the Florida Strawberry Festival with the kids. You can view the event map here.

There are a ton of things to do with the kids once you get there. The Kiddie Korral is where you’ll find a bunch of the rides for the kids. It does cost extra money to go on the rides, so consider purchasing an arm band. The Belle City Midway has 80+ rides for all ages too.

Kids will be encouraged to sanitize their hands before and after the rides.

If you and the toddlers need a bit of a break, there is a Kids Coloring Station right by the Belle City Midway where kids will be given a packet of crayons to color and keep!

There’s also a Mother & Baby Suite in the TECO Expo Hall which is in the center of the festival grounds near the Wish Farms Variety Stage.

Kid-Friendly Entertainment

If your kids love animals, they will LOVE the Florida Strawberry Festival where they can see kids just like them participating in live stock shows. In fact, it’s the kids who participate in the livestock shows that inspired event organizers to make sure they hosted this year’s event so the kids can showcase the animals they’ve worked so hard caring for.

Scott’s World of Magic and the Robinson Racing Pigs (both are right by the Belle City Midway) are kid favorites along with the Kent’s Robots Rangers and Incredible Circus.

There are multiple shows per day for each of the events mentioned above. You can check the event times to here to plan your day.

The Treats

It wouldn’t be the Florida Strawberry Festival without STRAWBERRIES! The event’s famous strawberry shortcake can be found at three locations this year: Parkesdale Farms on the south end of the Parke exhibit building, Transformative Life Church Shortcake at the Smithfield Strawberry Tent, and Berry AMAZ’N on the Southside of the TECO Expo Hall.

There are also a ton of food vendors too with kid favorites like pizza, chicken tenders, and corn dogs. Here are some of the NEW food items you’ll find at this year’s event:

Florida Strawberry Festival Food

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich Pop at Polar Bear Ice-Cream

Apple Pie Sweet Potato: Two of your favorite “feel good” food items combined into one delectable dessert. Swirled with butter and a homemade apple pie filing topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. The Apple Pie Sweet Potato is located at Taylor’s Doughboy on the northside of the TECO Expo Hall.

Bahama Breeze Italian Ice: A mixture of strawberry, pineapple, and mango Italian ice layered with fresh-cut pineapples and strawberries. Located at Domi Italian Ice east of the North Exhibit Tent.

Chocolate Pineberry Drizzle: The Pink-A-Boo pineberry treats are a must see and TASTE! They’re the industry’s newest twist on the traditional taste. Served on a stick and drizzled with white or milk chocolate, this sweet strawberry snack is available at the Chocolate Strawberry Express located in the Parke Exhibit Building. Limited availability.

Deep Fried Éclair: Need we say more? A mini éclair, deep fried till golden brown, dusted with powdered sugar and laced with Ghirardelli milk chocolate. Located at Carousel Concessions near the Neighborhood Village.

Deep Fried Triple Chocolate Oreo: Try a new twist on Deep-Fried Oreos!! This delicious dessert is dipped in a “chocolate” cake batter and deep fried to perfection. Topped with sweet powdered sugar, rich chocolate sauce, and whipped cream piled high! The Deep-Fried Triple Chocolate Oreo is located at Taylor’s Doughboy on the southside of the Parke Exhibit Building.

Jolly Rancher Slush: Try this refreshing Jolly Rancher slush with a limited-edition Florida Strawberry Festival commemorative cup and loads of sweet treats on top! Located at Apple Fries Concession on West Independent near the Arthur Boring Building.

Mexican Street Burger: It is a quarter pound hamburger topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, cilantro, onion, Mexican street corn, fried avocados and drizzled with a spicy Sriracha mayonnaise. Located at Carousel Concessions near the Neighborhood Village.

Piggy Stack: It’s a meal in a bowl! A piece of sweet cornbread, piled high with pulled pork, BBQ beans, and coleslaw. YUM! Located at Piggy Palace southwest of the Arthur Boring Building.

Strawberry Brownie Shortcake: A traditional shortcake with a brownie twist- moist brownie and sweet Wish Farms strawberries piled high with a scrumptious cream topping. The strawberry brownie shortcake is available at the Berry Amaz’n shortcake booth located south of the TECO Expo Hall.

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich Pop: Homemade strawberry ice cream, nestled between two chocolate cookies, hand-dipped in dark chocolate then rolled in a chocolate strawberry crunch, and served on a stick. Located at Polar Bear Ice Cream outside Neighborhood Village.

Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Funnel Cake: A traditional funnel cake mix made with lemon juice and ricotta cheese then fried till golden brown. Layered with a homemade zesty lemon glaze, topped with fresh sliced strawberries, and dusted with a sweet powdered sugar, this is a delicious and decadent treat. Located at Best Around Concessions outside of Candyland Warehouse.

Strawberry Pickle: Here’s the dill- it’s a strawberry pickle! The traditional dill pickle infused with strawberry flavoring. If you’re in the market to try something new, this is it! Limited availability- so don’t miss it! Located at the Chocolate Strawberry Express in the Parke Exhibit Building.

Strawberry Pina Colada Smoothie: Just the right mix of strawberries, pineapples, and coconut to make you pucker! Delish! Located at the Cinnamon Bun Saloon near the southside of the Parke Exhibit Building. Strawberry Red Bottom Passion Italian Ice Red Bottom Passion is our strawberry and mango Italian ice layered with strawberries and topped with strawberry drizzle. Located at Domi Italian Ice east of the North Exhibit Tent.

Faye’s Doozie: A secret family recipe from Mama Faye. This confection is double the indulgence. Two freshly baked cookies sandwiched between a cloud of cream filling. Available in chocolate chip or strawberry. Located at the Cookie Barn in the northwest corner of the Stadium Exhibit Building.

Way Better Strawberry Milkshake with a Twist: A Polar Bear Ice Cream souvenir cup coated with strawberry frosting and rolled in Fruity Pebbles, filled with our famous homemade strawberry milkshake topped with a mountain of whipped cream, a mini cupcake, a fudge brownie, licorice straws, and fresh Plant City strawberries. Located at Polar Bear Ice Cream outside Neighborhood Village.

World-Famous Parkesdale Farms Strawberry Shortcake: A traditional favorite that everybody loves! The world-famous dessert is made with fresh-from- the-farm sliced strawberries, a secret family shortcake recipe, and a heaping dollop of homemade whipped cream- just like they make at the market! Parkesdale Farms Strawberry Shortcake is located at Parkesdale Express in the Parke Exhibit Building.

 

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