10 facts from Florida Strawberry Festival history

As the Bay area prepares to enjoy another delicious Florida Strawberry Festival, we thought you might like to know some interesting facts about the event!  Check it out:

*The Florida Strawberry Festival began in 1930, when the Plant City Lions Club thought it appropriate to celebrate our town’s most famous agricultural commodity.

*The first Florida Strawberry Festival Queen was chosen according to who received the most votes from the town’s people. Each vote cost one penny, and the young lady who had the most votes would be named Queen. The first Queen who did just that was Charlotte Rosenberg in 1930.

*The first Festival was held on a site known as the “old baseball grounds” at Michigan and Baker Streets, south of Jackson Elementary School. It was centrally located and easily accessible.

*The Festival’s entertainment has evolved greatly over the years. The first Festival’s entertainment included a gorilla, a famous dog from a movie, a high-wire balancing act and shows from local Plant City talent.

*In approximately 1939, a competition was created for local FFA chapters to construct an educational agricultural exhibit. This competition carries on today with eight local chapters currently creating displays for competition.

*There was no Festival from 1942-1947. Organizers decided to put the event on hiatus during and immediately following World War II.

*The Florida Strawberry Festival’s steer show, one of the most competitive livestock shows at the event, began in 1972 with 23 steers that were rejected from another local livestock show.  The supervisor for vocational agriculture for the School District of Hillsborough County at the time wanted to help these exhibitors who couldn’t show their steers and convinced Festival officials to organize a show for them.

*1985 saw the celebration of the 50th Florida Strawberry Festival as well as the 100th birthday of the city of Plant City.

*President George H. W. Bush (he was vice president at the time) visited the Florida Strawberry Festival in 1984.

*Over 2,000 citizens from the local community currently serve as volunteers to help run the Festival. They volunteer in information booths, in the Badcock & More Media and Sponsor Center, as roving hostesses, in various exhibits and more.

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