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Heading to the 2023 Florida Strawberry Festival? Your guide to the headline acts and more

A strawberry patch lies within the middle of The Florida Strawberry Festival as visitors walk by and admire the growing fruit.
Thomas Iacobucci
WUSF Public Media
The Florida Strawberry Festival will run from March 2-12.

This year's festival will be held Mar. 2-12, and will feature the signature headline musical acts along with rides and entertainment.

After a heated battle with the state's classic key lime pie, strawberry shortcake was named the official Florida State Dessert last year.

Are strawberries really more of a "Florida thing" than key limes?

The history of the Florida Strawberry Festival would indicate a strong "yes."

That history will be on full display during the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City from March 2-12.

The festival has run continuously since its first event in 1930, except for a short break during World War II. Strawberry harvest season in Florida goes from December through April, and these days Florida farmers grow strawberries on about 12,000 acres and generate more than $300 million in crops each year, according to a WGCU article published last month.

Here's what you can expect to see this year, including the signature headline musical acts.

Midway Fair Rides
The festival will feature a wide selection of fair rides for both kids and adults as a part of the Belle City Midway. The Midway portion of the festival opens at noon Tuesday through Friday, and at 10 a.m. Saturday through Monday. The Kiddie Korral opens every day at 10 a.m. Information about special discounts, rules and height restrictions can be found here.

Strawberry Festival: A purple ribbon shows that a tropical-themed cake decorated by Heather Howel is the winner of the intermediate competition.
The Florida Strawberry Festival
The Neighborhood Village allows Florida craftspeople to showcase their works and compete for prizes.

Neighborhood Village
The Neighborhood Village allows Florida craftspeople to showcase their works in cake decorating, woodworking, knitting and more. The village also provides an opportunity for both youth and adults to compete for monetary prizes. Entry information is available online.

Livestock Shows
The Florida Strawberry Festival also features livestock shows. Both youth and adults can participate in the shows, which include dairy shows, lamb jumping, a swine sale and more.

Strawberry Festival: A Bluegrass band is pictured performing with five different stringed instruments.
The Florida Strawberry Festival
Bluegrass band "Rekindled Bits of Grass" will hold a free performance in the Publix Entertainment Tent on Thursday, March 2 at 6 p.m.

Free Entertainment
In addition to the rides and shows, the festival will also include free daily entertainment. Daily shows include multiple bands, religious events, and outdoor spectacles like pig racing and water jetpack shows. A complete guide to where and when to find free entertainment can be found here.

Headline Acts
Thursday, March 2  

  • 10:30 a.m. - Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra
  • 3:30 p.m. - The Oak Ridge Boys ($30 plus admission)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Walker Hayes

Friday, March 3   

  • 3:30 p.m. - Willie Nelson ($50)
  • 7:30 p.m. – Halestorm ($45)

Saturday, March 4    

  • 3:30 p.m. - Sara Evans ($35)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Chris "Ludacris" Bridges

Sunday, March 5   

  • 3:30 p.m. - The Gatlin Brothers ($25)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Chris Young

Monday, March 6  

  • 3:30 p.m. - Neal McCoy ($30)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Josh Turner ($35)

Tuesday, March 7  

  • 3:30 p.m. - Roots & Boots featuring Aaron Tippin, Collin Raye and Sammy Kershaw ($35)
  • 7:30 p.m. - CeCe Winans ($25)

Wednesday, March 8   

  • 3:30 p.m. - Tanya Tucker ($35)
  • 7:30 p.m. - The Jacksons (CANCELLED)

Thursday, March 9    

  • 10:30 a.m. - Bill Haley Jr. & The Comets
  • 3:30 p.m. - Tommy James & The Shondells ($35)
  • 7:30 p.m. - For King & Country ($40)

Friday, March 10 

  • 3:30 p.m. - Wayne Newton ($40)
  • 7:30 p.m. – Train ($50)

Saturday, March 11   

  • 3:30 p.m. - Sawyer Brown ($30)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Keith Sweat ($40)

Sunday, March 12 

  • 3:30 p.m. - Country Gold Tour, featuring Leroy Van Dyke, T.G. Sheppard, Mandy Barnett and T. Graham Brown ($35)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Lynyrd Skynyrd ($60)

Additional information about parking, daily schedules, and tickets can all be found online at the Florida Strawberry Festival website.

The Florida Strawberry Festival

Joanna Keen is the WUSF Stephen Noble Digital News intern for spring of 2023.