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Contents Table of

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THE COVETED CROWN: STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL CROWNS 85TH QUEEN

BY CIERRA CRAFT 25 young women participated in the 2020 Plant City Lions Club Queen Scholarship Pageant. Learn more about the road to the most coveted crown in town.

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2020 FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL FASHION SHOW BY ANGELA ARDREY For 43 years, the Florida Strawberry Festival has celebrated apparel sold by local shops and boutiques. Meet the models and shop owners who made the 2020 event a “perfect vision” of our city’s business community.

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2020 FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL QUEEN MEGHAN WHITE AND COURT BY CIERRA CRAFT Queen Meghan White, First Maid Kennedy Sapp and court members Emma Miller, Denim Hughes and Lacie Collins are embarking on an incredible year of ambassadorship, community and all things strawberry. Meet the five ladies who will represent our city and state’s strawberry harvest throughout the year.


FOCUS PLANT CITY

focusplantcity.com / Issue 19-02 / Feb. 2020

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FEATURE: FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

From festival fair foods to handcrafted goods in the Neighborhood Village, FOCUS is proud to present our annual Florida Strawberry Festival Special Issue. Meet President Paul Davis and the new Directors appointed to the Festival’s board. Everything you need to know, from fashion to concert lineup, is available in this issue.

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BUSINESS: WELLS MEMORIAL & EVENT CENTER

BY CIERRA CRAFT Wells Memorial & Event Center has provided caring, gentle funeral services for 124 years. Learn more about the Wells Memorial difference and how the business is dedicated to impacting lives throughout our community.

130

DINING: CULVER’S

PUBLISHER

Mike Floyd

MANAGING EDITOR

Cierra Craft

ACCOUNT MANAGER

ART DIRECTOR

OFFICE MANAGER

DISTRIBUTION

cierra@floydpublications.com

Chandler Workman

chandler@floydpublications.com

Anthony Sassano

asassano@floydpublications.com

Candy Owens

cowens@floydpublications.com

Tony DeVane

STAFF WRITERS

Angela Ardrey Anthony Bolesta Barbara Routen Cheryl Johnston Sherrie Mueller Emily Topper

CONTRIBUTORS

Candy Owens Heather Davis Gil Gott Natalie Sweet

BY CIERRA CRAFT Culver’s is a Wisconsin-based fast casual eatery, new to Plant City. Dive into ButterBurgers, Cheese Curds, and Frozen Custards at 2103 N. Park Road and discover how to brand is dedicated to farmers and FFA students across the country.

mikef@floydpublications.com

Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information. Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd.Plant City, FL 33563 Office 813.707.8783 Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 7078783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications.com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters and their contents sent to Focus Magazine become the sole property of Floyd Publications, Inc and may be reproduced thereof. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Floyd Publications, Inc. Use or duplication of material used in this publication is prohibited without approved written consent from Floyd Publications, Inc.

www.focusplantcity.com

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�e Florida Strawberry Festival Grand Parade Is coming On March 2, 2020

to register a float or if you have any questions, contact Berryyne productions at 813-967-6366.

LOCATED DOWNTOWN PLANT CITY

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UBLISHE From The

Publisher

One characteristic of our community that I find incredible is our ability to come together in support of one another’s endeavors. Whether it is to raise money for charity, to celebrate an accomplishment or to create change, Plant City residents take care of one another. On January 25, one such example was apparent to me. Nearly 20 teams poured into the train depot and museum to throw down in the Plant City ChiliFest for cash prizes. Despite the competitive nature of the event, neighbors were willing to lend a helping hand to unload vehicles and decorate booths. Collectively, the teams were there, not for bragging rights, but in support of The Arts Council of Plant City. We are blessed to live in a tight knit community.

TOGETHER AS ONE

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to the hundreds of volunteers and Ambassadors that give of their time, the Festival would not be possible without the people of Plant City. As we enjoy fair foods and carnival rides, may we keep our strawberry growers in mind, as none of this would be possible without their hard work and commitment to Florida agriculture. Our annual Florida Strawberry Festival issue is the biggest of the year. Our editorial content is strawberry-centric, from food to fashion. Check out the calendar of events and meet the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Board of Directors. It is an honor to present the new Queen and Court, as well as all of the fun things to see and do at the Festival this year. Be sure to tag us on social media to share your Florida Strawberry Festival memories and use the hashtag #berryfest20. The staff of FOCUS Magazine hope you all have an amazing time at the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival.

Thank you to the Arts Council for organizing this event each year and inviting FOCUS Magazine to participate. The Florida Strawberry Festival is another event that highlights the best our community has to offer. From our 2020 Strawberry Queen and her court representing a new generation of leaders

Warmest Regards, Mike Floyd


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Rooted in Plant City, we love our community and appreciate the continued support!

Thank you, neighbors!

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Community

FOCUS

‘Blair Witch Project’ Director films New TV Show in Plant City

CHECK IN WITH PLANT CITY

Plant City Main Street named Florida Main Street Community

Mi Casa to host Mariachi Night Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant recently announced the restaurant will host a monthly Mariachi Night. Mariachi Night will introduce guests to traditional Mexican music, popular in the country’s western region. Mariachi Night will feature drink specials, as well. Call Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant at (813) 7520057 for event details.

Florida Strawberry Festival named a Top 100 Fair On February 8, The Florida Strawberry Festival was named a Top 100 Fair by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions! This award is based on attendance reported to the IAFE in 2019. Congratulations to the Florida Strawberry Festival!

Plant City Main Street announced Jan. 27 that the organization completed a rigorous evaluation to earn official accreditation as a Florida Main Street Community and a Main Street America community. The standards of performance ensure that Plant City Main Street is best serving the needs of the community and downtown. Congratulations to PCMS for this incredible achievement.

Wishing Well Barn named WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice

PCPD Officers awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

Florida Mortgage’s Toni Raulerson named among Top 100 Broker in the US Congratulations to Florida Mortgage Firm’s Toni Raulerson. She was named among Top 100 Brokers in the United State by United Wholesale Mortgage. Raulerson funded over $70 million in 2019. Congratulations, Toni! PAGE

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Jackson Elementary welcomes Principal Dina Wyatt On January 14, the Hillsborough County School District named Dina Wyatt to lead Jackson Elementary School, replacing Jarrod Haneline. Wyatt taught at Walden Lake Elementary when it opened in 1991, in 2003 she became Assistant Principal. Nearly 14 years ago, she became Principal. Wyatt will now positively impact the lives of students at Jackson Elementary.

Daniel Myrick, co-creator of The Blair Witch Project, and Jeffrey Reddick, screenwriter of the Final Destination franchise, have teamed up for a new horror anthology series. “Black Veil” began filming in Plant City on Jan. 28. Film crews were spotted shooting on Evers Street, J. Arden Mays and McCall Park, among other locations throughout Hillsborough County. Black Veil will consist of six fifteen-minute long episodes centered around “many of the myths and legends that permeate the cultural landscape of the American South.” Producer Doug Fox said, “It’s hard to find locations that are preserved with historic charm… Plant City’s been wonderful.” Black Veil is expected to be released on Sept. 1 at blackveilonline. com

Plant City Master Police Officer Darren Culmer received the Lifetime Achievement Award on January 7 at the 17th Annual Black Heritage Banquet Gala. Officer Culmer just recently celebrated 20 years of service to the citizens of Plant City. Congratulations to Office Culmer for this incredible honor!

Survey: Cake or Biscuit? We asked our social media followers to vote for their favorite base for Strawberry Shortcake. At the time of publication, 90% voted cake, with 10% voting biscuit. No matter which you choose, there is no doubt it’s delicious!

Plant City’s Wishing Well Barn, located on Pippin Road, was awarded the 2020 Couples’ Choice Award by WeddingWire. The WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards recognize local wedding professionals who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism. Congratulations to Wishing Well Barn for winning this prestigious award two years consecutively!

Bruton Memorial offers Laptop Check-Out Program Bruton Memorial Library announced a new program where library-goers can now check out a laptop computer. Laptops can be used from any desk within the library with just a scan of your library card at the laptop kiosk. Laptops must be returned to the kiosk before leaving the library. For more information, call Bruton Memorial Library at (813) 757-9215.


Shop Local at the Florida Strawberry Festival

PCHS Baseball Hosts Clinic Hillsborough County with PC Little League Public Schools Appoints Plant City High School Raider Baseball New Superintendent team held their annual Volunteer Little League Camp with 50 players from Plant City Little League teams on Saturday, February 8. The young players were coached on pitching, batting, catching, and more by the Raiders, who are the FHSAA Baseball State Champions. Coach Mike Fryrear led the group in warm ups before he spoke to the PCLL parents about how their children can succeed in the sport. Fryrear and his staff took individual players to the side to perfect technique or form, if needed, to help students with one-on-one approaches. The Volunteer Little League Camp day is an opportunity for the next generation of players to improve their game, while providing the Raiders coaching experience.

Plant City schools will now be represented by a new Superintendent. Congratulations to Mr. Addison Davis, the incoming Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools. Davis will take over for Jeff Eakins, who retires effective June 30. Davis is currently the Superintendent of Clay County where he has helped increase the graduation rate to an all-time high of 91.9% and the percentage of "A" and "B" schools to 92%. According to the HCPS Facebook page, Davis won the Florida Outstanding Superintendent Communicator Award in 2019 and was a finalist for Florida Superintendent of the Year. Photo: Clay County District Schools

Local business owners are among the hundreds of food vendors and boutiques at the Florida Strawberry Festival. Be sure to visit the following businesses when you visit #berryfest20: Farmers Lane- Farmhouse and Strawberry Decor- Booth 42 in the Main Exhibit Building Piggy Palace BBQ- Pulled Pork Sliders, Smoked Wings and Strawberry Piggy Shortcake- Gate 10 Plant City Lions Club- Strawberry Fritters, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, etc.Arthur Boring Building Brandon Farms- Strawberry Milkshakes, Strawberry PIzza and Strawberry Jam- Gate 1 Transforming Life Church- Shortcake Booth- Smithfield Strawberry Tent Barie Good Lipstick- Lipsense by Senegence- Stadium Exhibit Hall Johnson Barbeque- Brisket Berry Tacos, Strawberry Cobblers, Sweet TeaEast Stadium Exhibit Hall Paw-Berries Bandanas- Dog Bandanas S-XL- Booth 72 in the Main Exhibit Building

PCHS Music- Strawberry Pie & Cheesecake- Stadium Exhibit East Hillsborough Historical SocietyShortcake Booth- Pioneer Village Florida Strawberry Growers Association- Strawberry Farming Exhibit St Clement Make Your Own Strawberry Shortcake- Booth 15 Parke Building Denise Young Boutique- Clothing & Accessories- Booth 206B in TECO Expo Hall Tub Treats- Bath Bombs, Bubble Bath, and Show Steamers- Stadium Exhibit Building Angie Klein Art- Hand Painted Clothes, Decor, and Art- Stadium Exhibit Building Russell’s Western Wear- Western Hats, Shirts, Etc.- Outside of Grimes Ag. Center Mavric’s Chocolate Barn- Chocolate Dipped Bacon- South side of Kellogg’s Tent Wish Farms- Fresh Strawberry BerriesNE side of Parke Building & Outside Gate 1

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BY NATALIE SWEET

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alden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7:00 at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meeting is scheduled for March 16th. The meetings are open to all Walden Lake HOA members. Please keep an eye on the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times of special meetings and events. During the month of January, there were 13 sales in Walden Lake and one sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $261,954 with an average of 24 days on the market. The January sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 4218 Barret Avenue / $195,000 / 1060 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 2713 South Fairway Drive / $200,000 / 2305 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 1505 Paddock Drive / $223,500 / 1520 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2006 Sycamore Lane / $228,000 / 1701 Sq’ / Community / 2 Car 4108 Longfellow Drive / $239,900 / 1805 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 3472 Silverstone Court / $253,000 / 1850 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 3212 Kilmer Drive / $280,000 / 2100 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 1708 Brookstone Way / $290,000 / 2001 sq’ / No / 3 Car 3214 Pine Club Drive / $290,000 / 2290 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 2878 Hammock Drive / $292,500 / 2169 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 2926 Spring Hammock Drive / $300,000 / 2198 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 3212 Pine Club Drive / $300,000 / 2639 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 3230 Alcott Avenue / $314,000 / 2294 Sq’ / No / 2 Car

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Walden Lake Review

There are currently 27 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $346,064 and an average of 60 days on the market. Two of these homes are in Polo Place and listed for $850,000 and $999,999. If the 2 Polo Place listings are eliminated, the average list price is $299,750 and 49 days on the market. There are 17 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $257,139 and average of 45 days on the market. Feel free to contact me about any real estate questions or about this article. NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586.


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THE COVETED CROWN:

Strawberry Festival Crowns 85th Queen By Cierra Craft For 85 years, the Florida Strawberry Festival and the state’s strawberry harvest have been represented by royalty. Throughout the decades, the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen has served as an ambassador for the annual 11-day celebration, a spokesperson the farmer and his beloved crop, but the Queen also serves as a symbol of inspiration for the city’s youngest residents. On Saturday, January 18, twenty-five young ladies competed for the coveted crown of 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen. The competition comprises Public Speaking Competition, where each contestant must introduce their respective sponsor to the crowd with a 30-second “commercial.” Each contestant was welcomed to the stage by the Mistress and Master of Ceremonies, 1999 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Kayla Drawdy and iHeart Radio Personality Scotty Davis.

2020 Queen and Court (left to right): Denim Hughes, Kennedy Sapp, Meghan White, Emma Miller, Lacie Collins

Contestant 8 Autumn Miller, sponsored by Wish Farms, shared that the grower produces strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Contestant 23 Emma Miller used humor to suggest her sponsor, Grace Manor at Hunter’s Creek, was the best assisted living facility for aging parents. PAGE

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The contest then included a casual wear and evening wear competition. Each contestant walked the stage and catwalk, showcasing their overall beauty, stage presence, and appropriate dress. Drawdy and Davis shared some of the competitors’ hobbies and interests. The 2020 judges panel consisted of Miss American 1977 Dorothy Benham, 2019 Miss Tampa Lauren Nielsen, Miss Florida volunteer and Miss America Organization volunteer George Bye, Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant Board of Directors secretary Michelle Topping and lifelong educator and founder of the Miss USF pageant Lynne Dalton. The panel met with each contestant earlier in the evening for a oneon-one interview, taking note of each contestant’s knowledge about the industry she will represent. The contestants were asked earlier in the week to choose one contestant that stood out from the rest to be named Miss Congeniality. The title was presented to Meghan White. The Top 10 contestants were then named: Emma Poole, Meghan White, Autumn Miller, Sailor Ullrich, Kennedy Sapp, Denim Hughes, Lacie Collins, Riley Buttoroff, Emma Miller and Kellie Kirkland.

2020 Florida Strawberry Queen Meghan White was crowned by 2019 Queen Kendall Gaudens.

Contestant 21 Riley Buttorff showcased a gorgeous strawberry red gown with a beaded bust. Each contestant walked the stage as emcees Kayla Drawdy and Scotty Davis read aloud the hobbies and interests of the contestant.

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"The five girls immediately embraced one another, as their lives are now forever changed by the pageant and the nearly 80 appearances that lie ahead."

For the casual wear competition, Denim Hughes opted for a floral off-shoulder top with an asymmetrical hem.

The top ten were then tasked with answering an impromptu question about their perfect vision for the queen and court. Many said to make the 500,000 visitors to the Florida Strawberry Festival feel like they’re part of our hometown. The top five contestants were then chosen: Meghan White, Kennedy Sapp, Denim Hughes, Lacie Collins and Emma Miller. Sapp was named First Maid and White was crowned 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen. “We know Meghan will be an outstanding queen,� said Festival President Paul Davis. White is the daughter of Stacy and Barbie White and is an 18-year-old senior at Durant High School. The five girls immediately embraced one another, as their lives are now forever changed by the pageant and the nearly 80 appearances that lie ahead. Through these endeavors, the girls will be tasked with promoting the Florida Strawberry Festival, meeting county and state officials, as well as making appearances at events such as Celebrity Chef, Diamonds and Denim and more. Queen Meghan and her court will also make appearances throughout the Festival and before each of the 24 headline acts on the Wish Farms Soundstage.

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Enjoy your time at the Strawberry Festival

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A PERFECT VISION FASHION, RUNWAYS, AND AN ENCHANTED FAIRY TALE Florida Strawberry Festival 43rd Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon Story and Photos by Angela Ardrey

The Florida Strawberry Festival presented the 43rd Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon on Thursday, January 23. “We all feel like it is a family reunion; a great event to help kick off the Florida Strawberry Festival,” announced Dub McGinnes, Florida Strawberry Festival Chairman, as he welcomed over 600 people in attendance. (PHOTO ABOVE) Jessi Rae Bridal, owned and operated by 2014 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Jessi Rae Varnum was a featured designer in the annual Fashion Show. Gowns of all styles and sizes were modeled by Madi Davis, Morgan Sistrunk, 2019 Florida Strawberry Festival First Maid Madilyn Conrad, and Peyton Collins.

“It’s a fun day when old friends and new come together,” stated Linda Walden, Fashion Show General Chairman. From invited guests and community leaders to participating stores, the Florida Strawberry Festival’s Grimes Family Agricultural Center found its main floor bustling with excitement. Behind stage, anxious models - all local members of the community including the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court, as well as 2020 Junior Royalty - waited for a chance to strut their fashion on the lit runway.

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A PERFECT VISION FASHION, RUNWAYS, AND AN ENCHANTED FAIRY TALE

Sweet Southern Sass owner Sandra Boggs (far left) featured items for women and children. Models included Stephanie and Bella Bikowski, Ivy Garner, Jana Watkins, Casey Willis and Hope Storter. Not pictured Jules Burt.

This year’s Strawberry Festival theme “Our Perfect Vision” found its way into an exquisite array of table décor, lush greenery, fine food and desserts. Moreover, the theme created the backdrop for a perfect vision filled with fashion, runways, and an enchanted fairy tale. Once upon a runway . . . a community joined together to celebrate a day of fashion mixed with strawberries and friendships. “It’s an annual tradition,” many declared. “It’s a chance to showcase local businesses and members of the community,” others stated. But for Plant City, the Grimes Family Agricultural Center became center stage for a fairy tale event worth remembering. Taking the podium was Mistress of Ceremonies, Wendy Ryan, news anchor for Tampa’s ABC Action News. She directed the performance, announcing each fashion boutique along with their chosen models. From stately gowns worn by Strawberry Festival Royalty to active wear sported by adults and children of all ages, guests were charmed as they watched community locals parade their fashions across the runway.

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Congratulations

Meghan Elizabeth White 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival

Queen

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A PERFECT VISION FASHION, RUNWAYS, AND AN ENCHANTED FAIRY TALE

The models of the Fashion Show took a final walk down the runway. Participants included Jenny Rothman, Marsha Passmore and Dodie White.

Many local models included grandparents and their grandchildren, new mommies with their babies, husbands and their wives, and past and present Strawberry Festival Royalty. However, there is one more piece to the fairy tale. As a group of models glided across the runway in breathtaking bridal gowns, a man and woman entered center stage. It was future bride Kelsey Newsome and her groom Cody Craven. They modeled their elegant wedding attire while the audience watched in awe. It was a true love story. The Florida Strawberry Festival 43rd Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon was a perfect vision filled with fashion, runways, and an enchanted fairy tale – a fairy tale rich in years of royalty, a community celebrating a magical event, and a happily-ever-after between many loved ones and a beautiful bride and her groom.

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ome and H l a r e n u F t h g u a H Congratulate y il m a F f l o W e h T

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A PERFECT VISION FASHION, RUNWAYS, AND AN ENCHANTED FAIRY TALE

A Special Thanks to all Guests, Participants and Models Special Guests: Dub McGinnes, Florida Strawberry Festival Chairman Paul C. Davis, Florida Strawberry Festival President Strawberry Crest High School, JROTC Color Guard Wendy Ryan, ABC Action News Anchor, Mistress of Ceremony 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Junior Royalty Court 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Royalty Court Participating Stores: • Bealls Department Store • Barely Jade • Denise Young Boutique • Jessi Rae Bridal • Tennessee Jane • Sweet Southern Sass Boutique • RAOK Boutique • Fringe Boutique • South Florida Baptist Hospital Gift Shop Fashion Show Committee: • General Chairman: Linda Walden • Co-Chairman: Suzanne Cribbs • Decorations: Karen Robinson, Kim Shouse • Hostesses: Leslie Poppell, Danna Coton, Donna Vaughan, Pam Warnock, Karri Knox, Stephanie Shuff • Sound: JR Pitts Special Sponsor Alessi Bakeries Trees and Greenery by Peggi Slappey, Johnson Plant Rental Catering by Simply Southern Catering Desserts by Alessi Bakeries

City Commissioner Bill Dodson and his wife Silvia modeled athletic wear for Bealls Department Store. PAGE

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Congratulations Kellie Anne Kirkland 2020 FL Strawberry Festival Top 10 Finalist!

813-754-6300 813-719-7738 FAX 302 E. Calhoun Street Plant City,FL 33563 www.brewingtonstowing.com

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You mentioned hunting and fishing- where did you interest in those activities come from? From a young age, my dad taught me how to filet a fish and skin a buck. It’s a family ordeal, our favorite place to go hunting is South Georgia. Our motto is anything we hunt or catch, we eat. So it’s to feed our family. What do you enjoy most about Plant City? The hospitality- you can walk into Walmart or Southern Hospitality and you’re guaranteed to see someone you know. Our community is more of a family base than a friend base, but I also love that we are an agricultural town. The strawberry community is what I am passionate about.

People of Plant City

Jana Watkins By Cierra Craft

J

ana Watkins is the epitome of a girly girl and a tomboy in one. By day, Watkins cuts, colors and styles hair at Salon 607. By night, she works at East Bay Raceway. The Plant City-native is a graduate of Plant City High School (2014) and The University of Georgia (2018) with a Bachelor degree in Ag Communications. Meet Watkins, as she sits down to chat about family, her hobbies, and our sweet little town. When did you discover an interest in cosmetology? Since I was 3 I have wanted to be a hairstylist. My cousin Stephanie Brannen has been in the industry for over 20 years; she is my mentor and

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who inspired me. I love making people smile and feel beautiful. I also have great flexibility in my schedule and being my own boss was intriguing. When you’re not with clients at Salon 607, what are you doing? I always say ‘I do hair by day and I sell tires by night at East Bay Raceway. I’m a girly girl and love having my hair and nails done, but I like to go out and shoot a deer and skin a fish. I grew up in a racing family and have worked on race cars since I could pick up a wrench. It’s something that’s second nature to me. East Bay is just home to me.

Your degree is in Ag Communications. In the future, how do you hope to impact our community? I want to bridge the gap between the farmer and the consumer. I would like to educate the consumer on topics such as GMOs and the legality of food labeling. Where are your favorite places to shop, eat and hangout in Plant City? Shop- Sweet Southern Sass, it’s owned by my cousin Sandra Boggs. It started out as a mobile boutique and she traveled, but now she is located within Sheer Madness by Connie in the Taco Loco Plaza. Eat- I love Fred’s and Hibachi Express is becoming one of my favorites. Hangout- Planet Fitness, I am there five to six times per week. The Strawberry Festival is almost here. What are you most looking forward to at the Festival? I love walking through the shops, especially the ones under the stadium seats. I always stand and watch the Native American dancing by the TECO Building. My grandfather was Cherokee, so it’s kind of like seeing a part of my heritage.


Congratulations

Emma Lauren Poole 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival

T op 10 Finalist

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Wells Memorial your Dignity Provider Congratulates

Sailor Bay Ullrich 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival

T op 10 Finalist

WELLS MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME 813-752-1111

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Congratulations

Autumn Hope Miller 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival

Top 10 Finalist

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Did You Know? The First Strawberry Festival and its First Queen By Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

A

gricultural societies celebrate the fruit of their labors with a festival. As the strawberry grew in economic importance to the East Hillsborough and, indeed, the greater Plant City area, it became fitting that the strawberry has its own celebration. The Plant City Board of Trade, forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce, held a “Strawberry Day” as early as January 1, 1914, and residents were encouraged to promote Plant City’s crops and tourism by sending post cards to distant friends and relatives. At a meeting of the Plant City Lions Club, July 5, 1929, Albert Schneider, first President and organizer of the Lions, suggested the members sponsor a festival that would involve Plant City and the surrounding communities. The City quickly got on board and City Manager John C. Dickerson was named General Manager of the nascent festival organization. The City advanced $1,000 for the committee’s operating revenue, to be repaid from the festival’s first proceeds. The newly incorporated Strawberry Festival organization drew up plans for the inaugural Strawberry Festival, which would include the selection and crowning of a Festival Queen. The site selected was a centrally located vacant block owned by Ira M. Allen, who had homes in Michigan and Plant City. The site ran north from Baker Street along the Seaboard Railroad tracks and Michigan Avenue. The dates were Wednesday, March 12, 1930, through Saturday, March 15, 1930. The Festival Queen, to be selected through a contest sponsored by the Future Farmers of America, would be featured in the grand parade on opening day and would be

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crowned at the festival grounds. In addition to the parade and the queen contest, the festival group set plans for floats, vendors, a midway with rides, the Johnny J. Jones Carnival Shows, bands, demonstrations with plants, flowers, and a variety of food, and of course fresh strawberries. By February 18, 1930, all the festival booths had been reserved; the communities of Dover, Hopewell, Seffner, Trapnell, Lithia, Turkey Creek, Cork, and Springhead had all registered to participate. Announcements were made in the two local newspapers that nominations for festival queen were open and that any “maid” or “matron” who resides in East Hillsborough County was eligible. Ballot boxes for votes for the Strawberry Festival Queen were placed in stores about town. Each candidate would receive 5,000 votes as sort of a starting bonus. After that, each vote was one penny, and pennies for votes were placed in clearly marked envelopes. Any resident of East Hillsborough could vote - just deposit the pennies with your votes. By February 24th, the last day to nominate a candidate for Queen, there were 36 names submitted. The balloting began in earnest Tuesday, February 25th. When counted, on March 10th, Charlotte Rosenberg’s votes totaled nearly fifty-thousand and she became the first Strawberry Festival Queen. Her court was comprised of the next five highest vote getters – Irvine Wilder, Nettie Simmons, Alice Sly, Kathryn Dudley, and Alice Maxey. The Festival began Wednesday, March 12, with the Grand Parade stepping off at 1 p.m. The coronation of the Queen was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. There followed a band concert, entertainment,

vendors and rides, and more. The remaining Festival days were Thursday, March 13 – Strawberry Day; Friday, March 14 – Tourists Day; Saturday, March 15 – Farmers Day. On opening day, the first Strawberry Festival Queen and her Court led the parade of elaborately decorated floats, decorated cars, horse-drawn carriages, and marchers. They started on Wheeler Street and wound their way through the crowded streets until turning onto Michigan Avenue and marching north to the festival grounds. The band struck up for the Queen and her Court as they promenaded to the throne. Albert Schneider, Strawberry Festival President, introduced Mayor/Commissioner George A. Carey, who gave a brief speech before crowning Charlotte Rosenberg the first Queen at 2:30 p.m., March 12, 1930. The official estimate of the attendance at the first day of the festival was 15,000, which was impressive in that the weather was inclement and not a Chamber of Commerce day. But it was a great day for the officials, the Queen, her Court, and the many volunteers who together produced the first Strawberry Festival, which, but for the WWII years, has continued to this day. SOURCES: Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, “Mary Frances Morgan/Panky Snow Papers”, Plant City Photo Archives photo collection, Quintilla Geer Bruton and David E. Bailey, Jr., Plant City; Its Origin and History, 1984.


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Congratulations

Emma Miller 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival

Court Member

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Save $2.00 on Adult & $1.00 on Youth General Admission Tickets at Publix

Our Perfect Vision! Feb. 27 - Mar. 8, 2020 • Plant City, FL

Artists Appearing on the

Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra

Soundstage:

Tommy James & The Shondells

Rascal Flatts

Thu. Feb. 27, 7:30 $51

Sat. Feb. 29, 7:30 $35

Sun. Mar. 1, 3:30

Chubby Checker & the Wildcats

Skillet

Wed. Mar. 4, 3:30 $25

Jimmy Fortune and Dailey & Vincent Fri. Mar. 6, 3:30 $20

Josh Turner

Wed. Mar. 4, 7:30 $35

Thu. Feb. 27, 3:30 $25

Roots & Boots - Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw & Collin Raye Sat. Feb. 29, 3:30 $30

Fri. Feb. 28, 7:30 $35

Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots

An Evening with 98°

Tue. Mar. 3, 7:30 $30

Michael Ray

Fri. Feb. 28, 3:30 $25

The Oak Ridge Boys

Thu. Feb. 27, 10:30 FREE

$35

REBA McENTIRE Sun. Mar. 1, 7:30 SOLD OUT

Ricky Nelson Remembered (The Nelson Brothers) Thu. Mar. 5, 10:30

Darci Lynne & Friends: Fresh Out of the Box Tour Fri. Mar. 6, 7:30

$25

FREE

NEAL McCOY

PATTI LaBELLE Mon. Mar. 2, 7:30 $35

Mon. Mar. 2, 3:30 $25

Dick Fox’s Golden Boys - Starring Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell Thu. Mar. 5, 3:30

Battle of the Bands Finale Sat. Mar. 7, 3:30 FREE

$30

Charlie Wilson Sat. Mar. 7, 7:30 $45

Visit FLstrawberryfestival.com or call 813-754-1996 and get your tickets for the best seats available!

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sun. Mar. 8, 7:30

While online, check out the Free Entertainment, Special Days & Discounts and full Schedule of Festival Events.

Sara Evans

Tue. Mar. 3, 3:30 $30

MercyMe

Thu. Mar. 5, 7:30 $40

Eli Young Band Sun. Mar. 8, 3:30 $35 Home of OUR

#berryfest20 Concert dates and times are subject to change

$56

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Queen Court 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival

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Each year, our city and state are represented by five ambassadors. These young women demonstrate poise, grace, humility and an enthusiasm for the Florida strawberry industry. Each year, the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court serve the community with a number of appearances; speak to city, county and state government about strawberry growers in Eastern Hillsborough County; and greet thousands of visitors over 11 days at the annual Florida Strawberry Festival. Meet your 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Meghan White, First Maid Kennedy Sapp, and Court Members Denim Hughes, Emma Miller and Lacie Collins, as these five ladies embark on a whirlwind year. They discuss the pageant, the future, and all things strawberry.

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Queen


Meghan White What do you hope to accomplish this year as the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen? This year, as the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen, I hope to bring joy, love, knowledge and fun to everyone who entered Plant City and the Strawberry Festival. Each individual has the same worth and importance when in our community; and I hope to highlight that through my work.

Why did you want to become Strawberry Queen? Throughout my life, I have grown a vast appreciation for the agricultural industry, Plant City culture and the Florida Strawberry Festival. The Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant is so unique and special to our community so naturally, I wanted to participate in it. Becoming Strawberry Queen allows me to be a friend to everyone, role model for other girls, represent a festival that I love while also growing into who I am and growing close to the other court members. What does this title mean to you? This title is so special to me because the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen is such a deep rooted tradition and event in Plant City. I view the sash and crown as being in the possession of the entire community, I am just the lucky one who gets to wear it! I feel so humbled, honored and grateful that I do get to serve this year as Strawberry Festival Queen. What is your earliest memory of the Florida Strawberry Festival? My earliest memory of the Strawberry Festival is being in the baby parade. My more prominent and distinct memory of the Strawberry Festival are from middle school, because all throughout middle school I showed swine at the festival. What concert are you most excited to see this year and why? I am honestly excited to see all the shows that are coming this year. However, one that stands out to me is Tommy James and Shondells. This my Nanny’s favorite band, so I’m very excited to see them sing Crimson and Clover and other songs live.

What is your favorite Festival food? My favorite festival food is strawberry shortcake. That dessert is a comfort food to me and it also tastes exquisite, especially when made at the Festival. What is one thing most people don’t know about you? I am a certified scuba diver!

Have any of your family members served as Festival royalty? No, I am the first! Who is your biggest inspiration? My Grandaddy, he was such a family man while also focusing so much on education and career success. I can remember back of the car rides which he would quiz my siblings and I on historic facts, or make connections from things we were seeing outside of the window to teach us. He also created this game where he would bury a treasure chest filled with goodies and would teach us how to use a compass, coordinates, and clues to find it. It was so much fun. Besides the educational fun, he would always put so much love into each moment he spent with my family and I. We took a lot of amazing trips together but we also made so many memories at home. Some of my favorites being hikes in the woods to find “Bigfoot,” a cross country trip in his R.V., and ghost stories whenever we spent the time anywhere. I also am so inspired by the marriage, relationship and overflowing love that he provided to my Nanny. It really taught me, through observation and stories, what to look for in a partner. I will treasure my Granddaddy always and I will forever be inspired by all he accomplished for himself and gave to my family and I. Besides a family member, who would you enjoy a dinner date with? Abraham Lincoln, because in a time in which our country was in crisis he managed to unify the nation. I would enjoy asking questions and hearing stories from him. For example, how he managed his stress, how he created a plan, and what he thought the

ultimate outcome would be and how he catered to the changing status of society. What do you enjoy most about your hometown? I love the deep rooted history that stands behind every event. If you walk up to anyone chances are they have an interesting story or fact that you have never heard before. I also love the family legacies, and history, that is left behind for all future generations. It is quite magical. What was the best line from your pageant commercial? My favorite line from my pageant commercial is “if you’re looking for the smalltown feel that is rare, step right in and see that they truly care!” I loved saying this because I feel like it represents Plant City and specifically, Florida Insurance Center, so well... 55


First Maid

Do you have prior pageant experience? Yes! I was First Maid in Little Miss Plant City when I was in 4th grade, and Jr. Royalty as well in 7th grade. Recently I was selected as Miss January in my high school’s Calendar Girl. What was your family’s reaction to your title as First Maid? They were so supportive and excited for me! The first thing I saw when my name was called as the First Maid was my family in the stands rise from their seats and start jumping up and down. Besides Festival duties, what does the coming year hold? I would say volunteering all throughout our community and giving back. This title is all about being a part of our town and doing all we can to be hands on. What is your earliest memory of the Florida Strawberry Festival? Growing up, my aunt had a sewing booth in the Expo Hall. My favorite thing was going to see her every chance I got. What is your favorite aspect of the Festival? My favorite aspect would have to be how the whole community comes together as one. Every year, for 11 days, everyone in Plant City slows down and takes time to be a part of this special event. It’s a time of year that every Plant City native loves. Who do you aspire to be like? I would say my Dad. He is definitely the calm in the storm. He is so laid back and loved by everyone who meets him. He is so kind and patient, even after raising two girls! I look up to him in every way I can. What makes life in Plant City so special? The love this community shows. You are constantly surrounded by loving mentors throughout our community. It’s one of a kind and not something you find in every town. What was the best sentence from your 30 second commercial? “It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” I love this so much. This represents how important it is to live your life doing what you and what makes you happy. That is what it’s all about.

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Kennedy Sapp


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Court Member

Do you have prior pageant experience? A little bit- I competed in my high school Calendar Girl Pageant and was Miss December for 2019. I also competed in the Queens pageant last year and made top 10! What was your family’s reaction to the pageant results? My family was over the moon! They knew how hard I had worked for this and were honestly just so happy to see me accomplish one of my goals. Besides Festival duties, what does the coming year hold? I pray this year holds so much growth. Outside of my court duties. I will be graduating from high school and going to college. This means I will be moving out of my childhood home, away from my family and living on my own. It is something I am so excited for but I know will come with a lot of additional responsibility. What is your earliest memory of the Florida Strawberry Festival? I have lived in Plant City my whole life so I have been going to the Festival since before I can remember, but one of the first memories that I can recall is the Pig Races. I can remember that there were so many excited people that my dad had to put me on his shoulders so that I could see! I really remember it being so much fun. Are there any aspects of the Festival you’re looking forward to learning more about? One thing I am looking forward to and what I am so excited about is to learn what all goes on behind the scenes. Even though the Festival is only 11 days I know that the Festival staff put so much time and energy into it year ‘round. I already have so much appreciation for the people who make this Festival so amazing, but I can’t wait to learn more about it. In what ways did you prepare for the pageant? Since I competed in this pageant last year, I had a lot more understanding of how everything ran and was so much calmer. I practiced for this competition very hard though, I would have people put on mock interviews for me, and I would lie in bed and ask my Amazon Alexa to ask me interview questions. I practiced my walks every day and would wear my heels around the house every time I was home. This was something I wanted very much, so I made sure to work hard for it. Describe yourself in three words I would say I am determined, authentic and I am a leader. What was the best sentence from your 30 second commercial? I owe all of my funny jokes in my commercial to my dad; he has the best “dad jokes” ever. My favorite line from the commercial would be, “so schedule your tour today, and let’s get our parents the help they don’t even realize they need.” This is my favorite line because the audience laughed so hard and it was my last line, so I knew that I had gotten through the commercial without messing up!

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Emma Miller


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Court Member

Do you have prior pageant experience? I did not participate in pageants until Junior year. Junior year, I went out for Durant’s Calendar Girl and won January. Senior year, I was blessed with title of 2020 Cover Girl. What was your favorite aspect of the pageant? This may sound silly, but the dance portion of the pageant made me realize I have a passion for dancing. Similar to playing the saxophone in middle school, the dance allowed me to express myself and release tension. Besides Festival duties, what does the coming year hold? It is crazy to me that I will be leaving for college in less than six months. I plan to attend Florida State University and double major in Marketing and Statistics with a minor in Psychology. 2020 holds the final chapter of my life in high school. What is your earliest memory of the Florida Strawberry Festival? I would not say this is my earliest memory, but the most prominent memory I have of the Florida Strawberry Festival is watching Rascal Flatts in concert as a young teen (I’m convinced I am in love with the band). Are there any aspects of the Festival you’re looking forward to learning more about? Trying not to sound like the geek I am, I love learning history. Learning new information on the creation and logistics of the Florida Strawberry Festival is exciting to me. In what ways did you prepare for the pageant? I constantly reminded myself to be authentic, worry less about giving “perfect answers.” Instead, I answered in a way that was perfect to me. Describe yourself in three words Vibrant, unique and personable. What was the best sentence from your 30 second commercial? “Have you considered everyone has an expiration date but not everyone has plans for it?”

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Denim Hughes


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Court Member

Do you have prior pageant experience? Yes, I have participated in the Baby Parade at the Strawberry Festival and at Jr. Royalty. I was also Little Miss Plant City in 2014. Do you and other girls already know each other? I knew Emma and Kennedy a little because we go to the same high school but over the past couple of weeks we have gotten to know each other and bond. It feels like I’ve known them forever. Besides Festival duties, what does the coming year hold? The upcoming year holds a lot for me as we have a lot of events and I can’t wait to serve my community. I will also be starting my senior year and I’m excited about that. What is your earliest memory of the Florida Strawberry Festival? Being in the Baby Parade when I was 5 with my best friends and then going to get strawberry shortcake afterwards. Are there any aspects of the Festival you’re looking forward to learning more about? I’m looking forward to learning what it is like behind the scenes and meeting all the amazing people that make it happen. In what ways did you prepare for the pageant? I prepared for almost a whole year. I had an amazing coach, Mrs. Tiffany Love. I worked for interviewing skills and I also took the time to learn more about the history of Plant City and the Festival. Describe yourself in three words Caring, outgoing and edgy. What was the best sentence from your 30 second commercial? “Come on down to Parkesdale Market today, so you can share this with generations to come!”

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Lacie Collins


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Rascal Flatts

Thursday, February 27

2020 FL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL®

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27TH

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH

Florida Blue Senior Citizens Day Patrons 60 years of age and older get $2 off the gate admission of $10.

Publix Food and Fun Friday- Present (2) two Publix branded or GreenWise non-perishables and receive a voucher for $5 off the $30 wristband and ride most mechanical rides for only $25.

Metro by T-Mobile Ride-A-Thon from noon-11:00 p.m. Present voucher from participating Metro by T-Mobile stores at Midway ticket booth to receive $3 off $20 wristband and ride all day for only $17. Deep Fried Strawberry Pie on a Stick Relay @ 2PM at Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 10:30 a.m.- Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra 3:30 p.m.- The Oak Ridge Boys 7:30 p.m.- Rascal Flatts FFA & 4-H: Mosaic Youth Swine Show @7PM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 64

Amish Donut Eating Contest @ 12PM at Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent; Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30PM at Belmont Magic Show Stage Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30 p.m.- Tommy James & The Shondells 7:30 p.m.- Michael Ray FFA & 4-H: Mosaic Youth Swine Sale @ 7PM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29TH

SUNDAY, MARCH 1ST

Free Kids Day | Youth Parade Day

Coca-Cola Family Day- Present any empty Coca-Cola brand can or plastic bottle product at entry gate to receive a voucher for $5 off the $25 wristband and ride most mechanical rides from 10:00AM.-11PM. for only $20. Can or bottle is not valid for gate admission.

Circle K Super Saturday Wristband DayKids through high school age admitted free; Wristbands for $30 entitles wearer to ride most mechanical rides from 10AM to 11PM. 11AM- 47th Annual Strawberry Youth Parade begins at State Farmers’ Market Youth Strawberry Stemming Contest @2PM at Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent; Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 at Belmont Magic Show Stage Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30 p.m.- Roots & Boots - Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw & Collin Raye 7:30 p.m.- An Evening with 98 Degrees FFA & 4-H: Dairy Showmanship @ 11AM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena; Dairy Show @ 1PM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena.

Baby Contest: Decorated Diaper Contest; Baby Features Contest; Diaper Derby- @10:30AM Publix Showcase Tent Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30 p.m.-Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots 7:30 p.m.- Reba McEntire FFA & 4-H: Dairy Showmanship (Adults) @ 11AM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena; Dairy Pee Wee Showmanship @ 11:30AM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena; Dairy Costume Ball @ 12:30PM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena; Youth Plant Sale @ 2PM in Patterson Co. Livestock Arena


98 Degrees Saturday, February 29

MONDAY, MARCH 2ND

TUESDAY, MARCH 3RD

Grand Parade Day | Ride-A-Thon Day from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $20 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price.

Breyers TWOSDAY | Ride-A-Thon Day from noon-11:00 p.m. ALL kids up to 17 are admitted FREE with paid Adult. It’s your choice! Ride any single ride for only $2 or ride most mechanical rides all day with a $20 wristband purchased at the Midway.

Grand Parade Begins @ 1PM Downtown Plant City; Grand Parade passes the Fairgrounds @ 2PM at Reynolds St. Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30PM at Belmont Magic Show Stage Strawberry Spaghetti Eating Contest @ 5PM at Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent

Adult Strawberry Stemming Contest @ 2PM at Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Peachey’s Youth Pretzel Making Clinic @12PM & 2PM at Kiddie Korral Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @2:30PM Belmont Magic Show Stage

Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30PM- Neal McCoy 7:30PM- Patti LaBelle

Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30PM- Sara Evans 7:30PM- Skillet

FFA & 4-H: Lamb Jumping Contest @ 3:30PM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena; Lamb Cosume Contest @ 7PM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

FFA &4H: Lamb Showmanship @3PM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena Lamb Show @5PM Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

Sara Evans Tuesday, March 3

Reba McEntire Sunday, March 1

Patti LaBelle Monday, March 2

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Skillet

Tuesday, March 3

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4TH American Heroes Day | Ride- A- Thon A wristband purchased at the Midway for $20 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechancial rides for this one low price. On American Heroes Day, all active, reserve and retired military veterans, law enforcement and first responders are admitted free with valid ID. Super Dog Mega Corndog Eating Contest @1PM at Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30PM at Belmont Magic Show Stage Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30PM- Chubby Checker & The Wildcats 7:15PM- Honor American Heroes 7:30PM- Josh Turner FFA &4-H: Mosaic Youth Steer Show @6PM Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

THURSDAY, MARCH 5TH Florida Blue Senior Citizens Day: Patrons 60 years of age and older get $2 off the gate admission of $10. Ride-A-Thon from noon-11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $20 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Present voucher from participating Metro by T- Mobile stores at Midway ticket booth to receive $3 off $20 wristband and ride all day for only $17. Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest @2PM at Stingray Ent. Tent Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @2:30PM at Belmont Magic Show Stage Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 10:30AM to Noon- Ricky Nelson Remembered (The Nelson Brothers) 11:45AM- Senior Citizens Drawing(One drawing only – MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN) 3:30PM- Dick Fox’s Golden Boys Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell 7:30PM- MercyMe

Chubby Checker & The Wildcats Wednesday, March 4

FFA &4-H: Mosaic Youth Swine Show @7PM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

MercyMe Thursday, March 5

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Josh Turner

Wednesday, March 4


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FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH

SUNDAY, MARCH 8TH

Tampa Bay Times Day on the Midway from noon-10:00 p.m. Receive $5 discount with a coupon from the Tampa Bay Times for the $20 Fun Pack Ride Coupon Book.

Coca-Cola Family Day present any empty Coca-Cola brand can or plastic bottle product at entry gate to receive a voucher for $5 off the $25 wristband and ride most mechanical rides from 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. for only $20. Can or bottle is not valid for gate admission.

Moonlight Magic Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $25 per person. All patrons entering the Midway will be required to purchase a $25 wristband Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30PM at Belmont Magic Show Stage Strawberry Mashed Potato Pie Eating Contest @ 3PM at Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Entertainment on the Wish Farm Soundstage: 3:30 p.m.-Jimmy Fortune and Dailey & Vincent. 7:30 p.m.-Darci Lynne & Friends: Fresh Out of the Box Tour

Pulaski Vacation Giveaway @2PM at TECO Expo Hall Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @2:30PM Belmont Magic Show Stage Stingray Chevrolet Corvette Drawing @5PM at East Ind. Entertainment on the Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30 p.m.-Eli Young Band 7:30 p.m.-Lynyrd Skynyrd FFA & 4-H: Youth Beef Breed Show @ 11AM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

Darci Lynne & Friends Friday, March 6

FFA& 4-H: Beef Breed Showmanship @6PM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

SATURDAY, MARCH 7TH Farm Worker Appreciation Day Circle K Super Saturday Wristband Day Farm Worker Appreciation Day sponsored by Astin Farms. Circle K Super Saturday Wristband Day from 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $30 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Baby Parade @ 10:15AM at GT Grandstands Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @2:30PM at Belmont Magic Show Stage FSF Battle of the Bands Finals @3:30PM Wish Farms Soundstage

Eli Young Band Sunday, March 8

Entertainment on the Wish Farm Soundstage 7:30 p.m.-Charlie Wilson FFA & 4-H: Mosaic Youth Livestock Judging @10AM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena; Mosaic Youth Steer Sale @ 7PM at Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

Lynyrd Skynyrd Sunday, March 8

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Charlie Wilson Saturday, March 7


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Festival Fashion B

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Fringe A. 3D Strawberry Hat Variety styles and colors available, $24.99 B. Cheetah Strawberry Graphic Tee Available from 3T to Women’s 2XL, $16-$24 C. BERRY Auto Tag $13.99 D. Bourbon & Boweties Strawberry Beaded Earrings $24

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D RAOK

Tennessee Jane Boutique A. Water Tower Town Tee Black & Red S-XL, $30 B. Strawberry Charm Earrings $16 C. Ermish Strawberry Jam Stack Adult, Kids and Extended, $35 D. Ermish Strawberry Shortcake Stack Adult, Kids and Extended, $35

A. Be Sweet Mommy & Me Tees. Designed and printed right here in Plant City by G-Tribe Exclusively available at RAOK. Adult tee: $30 Kids tee: $24 B. Our Original Home tee with matching dog bandana by Paw-Berries Bandanas. We believe all family members should match‌ including your fur baby! Home tee available in kids starting at 6 months and adult XS – XXXL. Home tee: $32 Paw-Berries Home Bandana: $19.99 C. Variety of strawberry earrings available in store and online. Prices vary. D. Erimish bracelets designed for RAOK. Blissfully Berry and Berrylicious $8 each or 5 for $35.

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At one time, Sonny Jones served as President of the Plant City Civitan Club. In 1990, Jones was named Plant City’s Citizen of the Year and was featured in the Youth Parade. In the blue IROC Z28, driven by Jean Ann and David Davenport, Jones waved at parade onlookers along Reynolds Street.

Strawberry Youth Parade celebrates 47 Years of Family Fun Written by Cierra Craft | Photos Courtesy of Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

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n Saturday, Feb. 29, the 47th Annual Strawberry Youth Parade will march down Alexander and Reynolds streets with beads and candy galore. The annual parade is centered around the city's youngest residents, providing children with not only an opportunity to watch the parade from the sidelines, but for many, an opportunity in the spotlight as a parade participant. Each year, the Strawberry Youth Parade is held on the first Saturday of the Florida Strawberry Festival. The Strawberry Youth Parade began in 1973, under the direction of the Plant City Civitan Club. Since its founding, the parade has remained committed to creating an event exclusively for families and the residents of Eastern Hillsborough County under 18 years of age. In 1980, Ray Cliburn joined the Plant City Civitan Club and Bill Bradbury, Sonny Jones and others appointed Cliburn

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to the Youth Parade. He served in the assignment for 13 years. Throughout Cliburn’s tenure as Chairperson of the Youth Parade Committee, he made several changes and implemented new ideas. One being arranging for the lineup to move from Haines Street (present day Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.) to the Farmers Market. “I saw what issues it created for traffic and for those in the parade trying to find their floats, so I approached the Farmers Market and sent a letter to Tallahassee requesting to use the Farmers Market for parade line up,” said Cliburn. “They agreed and it worked out because there was a covered shed where the groups could come decorate their floats before the parade. We used chalk on the pavement for unit numbers so people knew where to go.” The processional marched north on Alexander and west on Reynolds, just

as it does today, but Cliburn said back then, the parade marched through the Festival to the grandstands. Al Berry, Waylon Carlisle and Sonny Jones served as announcers to introduce the crowd seated in the grandstand to each unit. The Auburndale Civitan Club served as a panel of out of town judges and trophies were awarded immediately following the parade. The Plant City Civitan Club Youth Parade increased its number of units from 35 to over 100 during Cliburn’s leadership. The parade received awards from the Florida District and Civitan International. The Plant City Civitan Club continued to organize the annual Youth Parade until the organization disbanded in 2016. Pat Pogue was a member of the organization for 27 years, holding several positions within the Plant City and District offices. As an official of Publix, Pogue was


Patrick Patriots, Plant City’s baton twirling team, has participated in every Strawberry Youth Parade since the parade’s founding in 1973. Led by Barbara Patrick, the team showcases the twirlers skills throughout the parade route. “Tthe Youth Parade has been a favorite for the younger twirlers because they can march,” said Patrick. “During these years, we have won many, many awards for our twirlers performing in parades (we never stop) and won many awards for our float also. Plus we have produced World, National and State Champions. Also feature twirlers at several colleges, even captain at FSU.”

instrumental in brokering an agreement between Publix to warehouse Claxton Fruit Cakes, benefiting Civitan Clubs throughout the Southeast. Publix is an official sponsor of the Florida Strawberry Festival. With years of leadership experience and familiarity with the Plant City Civitan Club’s Strawberry Youth Parade plan of action, Pogue was asked to chair the youth parade by Festival President Paul Davis. During her tenure, the nonprofit became incorporated as Strawberry Youth Parade, Inc. “Pat Pogue is passionate about helping the youth in our community,” said Davis. “It started back in the Civitan Club and she has taken on the role of being an ambassador, traveling to schools, because she does not want to see the tradition of the Youth Parade die. She is an asset to the community and the Strawberry Festival; she is truly a one in a million person.” Davis shared that much of the Festival staff, including himself, participated in the Youth Parade as a child. “Some of my earliest childhood memories of the Florida Strawberry Festival are in the Youth Parade,” said Davis. Pogue and the committee are carrying on the highly anticipated yearly tradition with children from across eastern Hillsborough County as the focal point. “I am so proud of our kids that participate in our parade,” said Pogue. “When parents drop their kids off at the

line up, they will see me and say ‘Mrs. Pogue, you were here when I was in the parade.’ A lot of memories of the Youth Parade are being passed down.” This year, the parade will be led by Grand Marshal, Mary-Catherine Stephens. Stephens is a student at Plant City High School and has 5.2 GPA. She currently serves as Vice President of National Technical Honor Society. She is a member of the Interact Club Member and the National Honor Society. Stephens is also an ambassador for the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, where she will represent the state throughout the coming months. As Grand Marshal, Stephens will be presented with a sash

and a $500 scholarship to the college of her choice. On February 24, Mayor Rick Lott and the City Commission present Stephens with a proclamation from the City of Plant City as the 2020 Strawberry Youth Parade Grand Marshal. Stephens said her brother Gresham Stephens served on the Strawberry Youth Parade board for three years. She followed in his footsteps and it honored to be recognized as Grand Marshal. “I’m looking forward to being in the parade, having been on the planning side of it with the board, I am looking forward to riding in the parade this time,” said Stephens.

In 1985, Jackie’s Dance Theatre & Gym passed through the grandstand, where parade-onlookers could see each unit. At the time, Ray Cliburn served as Parade Chair and asked Al Berry, Waylon Carlisle and Sonny Jones to serve as announcers, introducing the crowd to each unit. Photo courtesy of Sharon Everidge 75


Meet the New Directors Written by Cierra Craft

In April 2019 and October 2019 respectively, the Florida Strawberry Festival board of directors voted to elect its newest directors and associate directors. As senior members of the board transition into active role as director’s emeriti, the Florida Strawberry Festival board of directors considered many candidates to fulfill the roles of directors and associate directors. Meet the newest members of the Florida Strawberry Festival’s board of directors: Andy Knotts, Brian West, Lori Yarbrough, Dr. Michael Salvato, Chris Sparkman, Calvin Callins, and Brian Shepherd.

Andy Knotts has served as an associate director for 17 years and is a Territory Manager with Chadwell Supply. Andy has volunteered for the Festival for over 30 years and served on many festival committees including Stadium Operations, Long Range Planning and Entertainment.

Brian West is the Marketing and Community Relations Manager for Publix Super Markets Incorporated. Brian has volunteered and served the community for more than 20 years as a member of the United Food Bank of Plant City, Past Chair of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and Past President for the Plant City Lions Club.

Lori Yarbrough is the Co-Owner of Intrac Corporation. Lori has been a longtime volunteer of the Festival and has served as an information booth captain for more than 13 years and a tram operations supervisor since 2017.

Michael Salvato has served as an associate director for 16 years. He has been part of numerous festival committees including the Americans With Disabilities Act committee and emergency preparedness and safety committee. He also serves as the festival’s “on-call physician.” He and his wife, Linda, have five children.

Chris Sparkman began volunteering at the festival in 1993 as an usher for the headline entertainment concerts and was elected to an associate director position in 2007. He has been a member of stadium operations committee, headline entertainment committee, Strawberry Ball committee and Media Party committee. He currently serves as chairman of the Plant City Pig Jam and is the president of Florida Roll-Off Solutions. He and his wife, Angela, have four children.

Calvin Callins is a native of Plant City and is the senior pastor of Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries. He began volunteering at the festival as a member of the stadium operations crew, has parked cars with his church’s lot and has headlined “Gospel Night” since 2014. He has also been an integral member of the Battle of the Bands committee. He currently serves as an assistant coach for Plant City High School’s boys basketball team and is the voice of raider football games on Friday nights. He is a board member for the Plant City Improvement League and Plant City Family YMCA. He and his wife, Tandria, have three children.

Brian Shepherd is a fifth-generation native of Plant City. He currently works with Locus Ag Solutions as a business development representative and is the senior pastor at First Thonotosassa Missionary Baptist Church. He has been volunteering at the festival for over 25 years, serving on the youth plant show and sale committee, steer committee, swine committee and agriculture committee. He is a former president of the Tampa Chapter of the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association and former president and football trustee of Pinecrest Little League. He and his wife, Kari, have three children. 76


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A Taste of Home: RECIPES BY STRAWBERRY SUE

Sue Harrell, known affectionately as Strawberry Sue, is FSGA’s director of marketing, seasoned strawberry grower, and voice of the FSGA blog. This month, Harrell shared some of her favorite strawberry recipes to inspire you to use Florida strawberries to create fun, flavorful dishes. For these recipes and more, visit floridastrawberry.org.

STRAWBERRY AND AVOCADO SALSA INGREDIENTS: 1 1/4 cups Florida strawberries 1/2 cup avocado 1 jalapeño 1/4 cup red onion 1 lime 1 handful cilantro salt and pepper to taste

Begin by chopping and dicing fresh ingredients. Chop strawberries and avocado into small pieces. Dice jalapeño (remove the seeds if you want a milder salsa) and red onion. Combine in a mixing bowl. Zest and juice one lime into the mixing bowl. Add in some chopped cilantro and season to taste. Toss and serve.

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A Taste of Home STRAWBERRY AVOCADO PINWHEELS

INGREDIENTS: 1 large spinach wrap 2 ounces goat cheese

First, make the lemon goat cheese. Whip the goat cheese together with the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Juice from ¼ lemon ½ avocado, sliced ¼ cup red onion, sliced thin 8 medium Florida strawberries, sliced thin 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves Salt and pepper, to taste

Next, lay the spinach wrap on a clean surface. Layer the ingredients in stripes along the surface of the wrap. Recommended: spread the lemon goat cheese on one end of the wrap, then below it layer the avocado, red onion, strawberries, and spinach. Starting at the side with the spinach and ending with the side with the goat cheese, tightly roll up the wrap. Use a sharp knife to cut the ends off the wrap (discard – or eat them as a snack sample!), then slice into 1-2 inch pinwheels. If desired, secure the end of the wraps with a toothpick. Serve, and enjoy!

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A Taste of Home TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SHORTCAKE INGREDIENTS: 2 pounds fresh Florida strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped for topping For the shortcakes: 2 cups all purpose flour (can be half whole wheat flour) 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, COLD 1 cup low-fat buttermilk (or more) 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup mini-semisweet chocolate chips

These are delicious! You can also use store bought chocolate chip muffins and assemble your own triple chocolate shortcake.”

Milk (to brush on tops of shortcakes before baking)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Granulated sugar (to sprinkle on the shortcakes before baking)

In glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, chocolate syrup and vanilla. Stir to combine. Put in refrigerator.

Chocolate-covered strawberries, for garnish, if desired

In a large food processor fitted with the blade, combine the flour, 2 TBS granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to mix.

*Note: if the strawberries you are using aren’t as sweet as you like, you can add a TBS of granulated sugar to the berries once they are sliced.

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Sue says, “Chocolate is the number 1 flavor in the USA and strawberry is second. Putting these two flavors together is a perfect combination.

Drop in COLD butter pieces and pulse until you achieve a mixture with the butter the size of small peas. Dump flour mixture into a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add in the chocolate chips and stir once.

Dump the dough onto a floured surface and fold over a few times to distribute the chips. Pat down into a round about 1/2" thick. (Remember, less is more when handling this type of dough…do not over work it!) With a 3 1/2" round cutter, push straight down into dough. Place shortcakes on prepared baking sheet. Gather up scraps and repeat until all dough is used up. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 12 -15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove shortcakes from pan with spatula to a wire rack. Cool for at least 15 minutes before assembling the dessert. To assemble dessert: Cut shortcake in half. Separate halves. Place about a cup of the sliced strawberries onto the bottom of the shortcake, cut side up. Place a large dollop of whipped cream onto the berries. Place the top of the shortcake onto the whipped cream and add a smaller dollop of cream to the very top. Garnish as desired.


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A Taste of Home FLORIDA STRAWBERRY MIDNIGHT SHORTCAKE INGREDIENTS: 1 lb Florida strawberries 2 tablespoons sugar 4 jumbo chocolate cupcakes Whipped cream Rinse the fresh strawberries, here are some tips, then remove tops and slice the berries. Place the sliced berries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar.

Slice jumbo chocolate cupcakes in half and stack sweetened strawberries. Next put a dollop of whipped cream on top of the strawberries and finish off by placing the chocolate cupcake top on the shortcake. Garnish with more strawberries, serve and enjoy! Makes 4 servings.

STRAWBERRY PIZZA WITH SUGAR COOKIE CRUST This easy recipe uses just four ingredients and takes very little time to make. Just grab sugar cookie dough, cheesecake filling, strawberry glaze, and, most importantly, fresh Florida strawberries! Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut cookie dough into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Arrange on a medium-sized pizza pan with the edges of the cookie discs touching each other. Carefully flatten and spread the cookie dough out so there are no gaps. This is easiest done by hand. Make sure the cookie dough is an even thickness so that it bakes evenly. Bake at 350 degrees about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Spread cheesecake filling mixture over the cooled cookie crust. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the Florida strawberries and glaze. Spread the strawberry mixture over the cream cheese layer. Garnish with fresh Florida strawberries and enjoy your strawberry pizza with sugar cookie crust!

INGREDIENTS: 1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough 1 tub ready-to-eat cheesecake filling 1 qt. Florida strawberries, sliced 1 pkg. strawberry glaze

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President Paul Davis’ Perfect Vision Written by Cierra Craft

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s the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival approaches, Festival President Paul Davis and the Festival staff are preparing for the 11-day event, themed “Our Perfect Vision.” The Florida Strawberry Festival is #1 in the state for attendance, while offering wholesome, family fun at an affordable price. Thousands of volunteers, churches and nonprofits give of their time each year. Davis sat down with FOCUS Magazine to discuss what he is most looking forward to at this year’s event, gives an exclusive look into some of the new things to see and do, and chats about his “perfect vision” of the Florida Strawberry Festival.

How was this year’s theme “Our Perfect Vision” chosen? Davis: I was walking backstage during a concert last year and one of our Festival Volunteers/Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies calls me over and says ‘I have an idea, ‘2020: Our Perfect Vision.’’ I agreed it was a fantastic idea. At this year’s Festival Fashion Show, I looked out over the crowd of 500-plus happy people and thought to myself ‘this is our perfect vision.’ It was like a family reunion and a room of friends. Any tips for visitors planning a trip to the Festival? Davis:We haven’t raised our gate prices for over thirty years; It costs less than a movie ticket if you go to Publix and buy advance gate admission tickets and we have lots of free entertainment on the grounds. We have at least one free show on the grounds every 10 minutes and we keep it affordable by keeping shortcake tickets at $4.00 or $3.50 if you purchase in advance. We have always strived to make the Festival affordable so that families can have fun together. What is your perfect vision of a day at the Florida Strawberry Festival? Davis: Three things: 1. To get everyone in and out of the Festival safely. 2. To see everyone leave with a smile and 3. To know that we brought people closer to their family and friends. We average about 500,000 to 600,000 visitors per year. What are some of the shows you’re most looking forward to? Vocal Trash is back for the first time in years and they’re always a huge hit. They use trash and everyday items to make music and provide live entertainment, while also teaching kids about repurposing. The Stephanie Ann Show and Soul Circus Cowboys are also going to be here and they’re both so talented. We are also excited to have Flippin’ Out, a world championship trampoline and acrobatics group…. On the Wish Farms Soundstage, we have Ricky Nelson Remembered, Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots and Reba McEntire is sound out. We didn’t think we were going to see Reba, but she told her managers she’d come to the Strawberry Festival. We are excited to have Michael Ray, who is from Lakeland. With Rascal Flatts, they just announced their final tour, so this may be our last chance to see them. 86

What are some new aspects to the Festival this year guests should explore? This year, we have a geofilter for social media. Once visitors come into the Festival gates, they can access the geofilter on Snapchat. If they want to screenshot their photo, they can then share it on Facebook, Instagram, etc with the hashtag #berryfest20. This year, we also have a Mother and Baby Suite, sponsored by Badcock Home Furniture and More, in the southwest corner of the Hull Building. Mothers have a privacy comfortable place where they can take infants and toddlers while on the festival grounds. It will have couches and comfortable seating. How does your team ensure visitor safety? So we have magnetic wanding and bag searches at the gate. We have PCPD and HCSO spotters on the perimeter making sure no one throws anything over the fence, for example. Law enforcement is at every gate and throughout the Festival. With our rides, we undergo state inspections and always err on the side of caution. What is something people may be surprised to know about the Festival? Last year, we presented $900,030 in prizes to our FFA and 4-H kids. We are proud to partner with UF to fund berry research and finding alternatives to pesticides. We give about $20,000 a year to these endeavors.


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Creativity Abounds

The Florida Strawberry Festival’s Neighborhood Village Written by Angela Ardrey and Cheryl Johnston Photo by the Florida Strawberry Festival

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ear after year, Florida Strawberry Festival visitors from all over the nation stroll through the 12,000 square foot Neighborhood Village building to see some of the finest, award-winning homemade and handcrafted creations imaginable. Submitted by folks of every age, the showcase is a testament to Florida talent. Located on the east side of the Festival grounds, the climate-controlled Neighborhood Village sits adjacent to the Administration Building at Gate 4 on BerryFest Place. For those old enough to appreciate kitchen appliances from many decades ago, the entrance area showcases an Old-Fashioned Kitchen by the adult competition’s sponsor, Kitchen Craft. Folks enjoy perusing the displays to rediscover an era when things were fresher, tastier, and made with the patience and love of true craftsmanship. They also find modern innovations, too. Live demonstrations showcase centuries-old craftsmanship and some skills also relatively new. In past and present years those have included spinning, chair caning, rug hooking, tatting, beading, wire wrapping, and fine arts, among others. The Neighborhood Village (NV) contains four areas: • NV Adult Division • NV Youth Division • Garden Club Horticulture Show • Strawberry Queen Exhibit For historical enjoyment, the Strawberry Royalty display begins with framed photographs of Queen Charlotte Rosenberg from 1930 and continues through 2020 with current Queen Meghan White and her court. It’s fun to notice how hair and gown styles have changed through the years of Strawberry Festival history. Volunteers and Contests With help from more than 250 volunteers each year, Neighborhood Village committee chair Dawn Kicklighter and her team organize the processes for submission, set-up, judging, and display. To engage and educate visitors, some of those crafters showcase their talents by offering demonstrations throughout the 11-day Festival. Contest entrants from Plant City and surrounding communities vie for monetary prizes and ribbons by registering their handmade items in two categories: non-perishables and perishables. The Non-Perishables Division includes: quilting, home décor, wearing apparel sewn, wearing apparel not sewn, needlepoint, needlework and plastic canvas, toys and dolls, knitting, crocheting, tatting and bobbin lace, paper crafts, jewelry, vinyl, woodworking, and photo scrapbooking. Perishables include food preservation, baking, cake decorating and cupcakes. Brief History By the second Festival in 1931, records confirmed exhibits and contests were featured using strawberries and canned home goods. In 1934, "Home

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The Neighborhood Village celebrates all things handmade. It’s truly a slice of Americana when one steps into the exhibition area. Quilting, crocheting and knitting are all awarded at the Strawberry Festival. The items are then on display for the Festival’s 500,000+ visitors to enjoy.

Demonstration Exhibits” were introduced. The Florida Strawberry Festival: A Brief History (on sale in the NV) also mentions canning and packing contests for fruits and vegetables as far back as 1938. By 1969, The Professional Women's Club began sponsoring a Hobby Show. All these contests eventually morphed into what is now known as the "Neighborhood Village." Deserving of its own space, the Festival constructed the 12,000 square foot building in 2014 that houses the many exhibits and the horticulture competition. Involving the Next Generations The Neighborhood Village Youth (NVY) division, sponsored by Hampton Inn and Suites, provides fee-less entry competitions for children in grades K—12 residing in Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco counties. They simply bring their submissions to the locations specified in the rules posted at flstrawberryfestival.com for either the junior division (ages 5-12) or the senior division (ages 13-18). To connect with current culture, NVY contests now include Lego structures, songwriting and community service projects, while the adult division has added recognitions for non-sewn apparel/ accessories, woodworking, photo scrapbooking, wind chimes, hand lettering, pies and candied apples. “The original idea for the local showcase was spread by word of mouth and community participation. Then it developed into a competition,” shared Jennifer Morgan, the Festival’s Public Relations & Media Representative. “Today it’s so special that our Neighborhood Village maintains one of the original intents of fairs and festivals in general by allowing residents of all ages to showcase their handmade crafts and skills.” She added, “And now kids are piggybacking on the idea to carry our festival into the future. It’s also a testament from the volunteers and exhibitors in our community who want to keep it going.” Dawn Kicklighter agrees about the imagination and talent. “The motto of the Neighborhood Village is to preserve and promote creativity by encouraging friendly competition. Every single year I’m blown away by the unique items people enter—some sweet, some funny and many interesting, beautiful, thoughtful, colorful, delicious— the adjectives could go on and on. With almost 800 entries in the adult division alone, 2019 was a record year for us.” “People drive a long way to get to us,” Kicklighter added, “and we'd like even more to enter their creations, so spread the word! And please don’t miss stopping in to be inspired by this amazing display of human creativity.” For contest rules and information, visit flstrawberryfestival.com


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Festival Foodie uide When one thinks of the Florida Strawberry Festival, a few things come to mind: World Famous Strawberry Shortcake, Midway Ride and Royalty. However, our city’s festival is known for welcoming outrageous carnival fare. With the help of the Florida Strawberry Festival team, we have compiled a Festival Foodie Guide. Let this serve as your guide to all of the sweet, savory and delicious foods available at the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival.

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Strawberry Cheesecake Elephant Ear This tasty treat combines the sweetness of berries, the decadence of cheesecake with the classic Elephant Ear. A sweet strawberry flavored dough is flattened through a sheeter and deep fried. Then it is slathered with a thin layer of liquid butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Topped with fresh-cut strawberries and a heaping mound of homemade cream cheese icing. Located at Best Around Funnel Cakes near the Smithfield Strawberry Tent.

Chocolate Bacon Berry Zabob What’s better than berries and bacon? This new fair food is sure to be a hit with strawberries dipped into warm chocolate and coated with bacon bits for a sweet and salty flavor combination. Located at the Sunshine Concessions stand near Woodrow Wilson Street.

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French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich Grilled Cheese is near perfect on its own as a fair food, but add heaps of caramelized onions and ooey gooey melted cheese, you’ve got something one-of-a-kind. Behind the TECO Expo Hall at the Sunshine Grilled Cheese Concessions stand.

Apple Fries Apple Fries are a delicious treat that taste like crispy mini apple pies. Festival goers have the option of having them with caramel, whipped cream, ice cream and even bacon! As a bonus, apple fries are vegan and gluten friendly, so those with these types of dietary restrictions can enjoy these treats as well. Located under the GT grandstands at the Happy Dough Cookie Company.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Delight Calzone A traditional calzone gets a twist- fresh dough, stretched flat then piled high with a strawberry filling and deep fried to a golden brown. Sprinkled with powdered sugar, drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with rich whipped cream and served with a side of cream cheese for dipping. YUM! Located at Taylor’s Doughboy stand on the southside of the Parke Building.

Strawberry Piggy Shortcake A twist on traditional Strawberry Shortcake, this Strawberry Piggy Cornbread starts with a cornbread base topped with delicious pulled pork and drizzled with one-of-a-kind strawberry BBQ sauce. Located near Gate 10.

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The Florida STrawberry GrowerS aSSociaTion conGraTulaTeS all oF ToniGhT’S conTeSTanTS.

To learn more about Florida strawberries, visit our web site. WWW.FLASTRAWBERRY.COM OFFice: 813.752.6822 Fax: 813.752.2167

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Wells Memorial & Event Center is dedicated to caring for the community, including our military and first responders. When a public servant is killed in the line of duty, the funeral home offers a memorial service at no charge to the family. Wells also provides services to homeless veterans, honoring the life and service of our nation’s vets. Homeless veterans are honored with full military honors and buried at the National Cemetery.

Wells Memorial & Event Center BY CIERRA CRAFT

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hen faced with the loss of a loved one, the bereaved are often overwhelmed with thoughts of grief, sadness, and numbness. But at Wells Memorial & Event Center, grieving families are met with gentle kindness and caring compassion. The staff of Wells Memorial & Event Center is not there to simply provide a funeral service, but to tell the life story of those that have passed. Wells Memorial & Event Center has helped Plant City families plan personal tributes to their loved ones for over 100 years. Plant City residents turn to Wells Memorial & Event Center during life’s most difficult moments. It is with kindness, expertise and understanding that Wells Memorial & Event Center has become a trusted name in creating memorable services for beautiful lives.

124 YEARS OF HISTORY

G.W. Wells was the proprietor of a furniture and hardware store at the corner of Collins and Drane streets in the 1800s. In 1896, his friend passed away and Mr. Wells constructed his coffin, thus changing the Wells legacy forever. Wells Funeral Home, located on Mahoney and Wheeler, was demolished in 1975, according to Plant City: Its Origin and History. The funeral home then moved to its current location on Reynolds Street. In the 1970s, Wells Funeral Home was owned and operated by Funeral Director Mr. Lacey McClellan. McClellan led Wells Funeral Home and Wells Colonial Chapel, both located in Plant City. McClellan attended Gupton-Jones Mortuary College in Texas and was a member and past President of the Plant City Rotary Club and a longtime member of the Plant City Elks Club.

CONTINUING THE LEGACY

Wells Memorial & Event Center is located at 1903 W Reynolds Street.

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Today, Wells Memorial & Event Center is led by Verna McKelvin, Manager and Community Relations Director and René S. Miller, Assistant Manager. Together, McKelvin, Miller and their staff operate Wells Memorial & Event Center with love, care, and a strong sense of service to the community. “When a family comes in, our first question is ‘Tell me about your loved one, what were they like?’” said McKelvin. “Then, we build a service around their loved one. The first question in the industry for a long time has been ‘burial or cremation?’ but we want to get to know each family and their loved one that has passed.”


When families planning a tribute to their loved one, the staff of Wells Memorial ask for families to talk about the life of those whom have passed. The families are asked to bring in personal items that tell the story of their loved one’s life and Wells’ designer creates a beautiful tablescape adorn with those items and decor pieces. Currently, Wells Memorial has a display set up for strawberry season, incorporating artificial strawberries, farmhouse decor and florals.

To tell that story, Wells Memorial & Event Center goes above and beyond. Family members are asked to bring in artifacts of their loved one’s life- maybe jewelry or trinkets from their favorite vacation- and the designer will create a beautiful display, incorporating those special treasures to capture the memories of one’s life. After the service, families are presented with a hardbound photo album of their loved one’s photographs with special messages posted online by friends and family. In the days, weeks, months and years, as families continue to heal, Wells Memorial offers LIFT, a program of Dignity Memorial. LIFT is a social support program that helps widows and widowers adjust to the loss of a spouse by providing hope to reinforce a sense of wholeness of purpose in those who may be feeling lost or isolated. “This program is free and open to anyone in need,” said McKelvin. “They could be a widow for decades or even used another funeral home for their loved one’s service. We just want to be there to help them heal and form new relationships.”

CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY

Wells Memorial & Event Center not only provides funeral services, but the funeral home is dedicated to taking care of veterans within our community. In 2019, Wells Memorial & Event Center partnered with nonprofit Operation Paying it Forward for Operation Appreciation, an event to recognize military veterans and first responders in our community. “Wells Memorial & Verna have been so supportive of Operation Paying it Forward, since our founding,” said Michelle Valdes, founder and president of OPIF. “We were grateful to partner with Wells Memorial & Event Center for our Operation Appreciation event and look forward to continuing our relationship in the future.” When a homeless veteran within Hillsborough County passes away, the Medical Examiner calls Wells Memorial to honor the veteran's life and service to our country. Despite the veteran's living

situation, Wells Memorial & Event Center is dedicated to honoring the life and service of veterans in our community. "We will have a service, with full military honors for the veteran," said Rene Miller. "We will invite city officials, business owners and the community to come and pay their respects to this hero. We will then arrange for a burial at the National Cemetery." Additionally, any public servant killed in the line of duty, Wells Memorial & Event Center will provide funeral services at no cost to the family. “We take care of those that have taken care of us,” said Miller. During Strawberry Festival season, Wells Memorial & Event Center hosts a Parade Day luncheon. The event is by invitation only to say thank you to those in the community who work "behind-thescenes." The event brings community members together for an afternoon of fellowship while celebrating one of our community's most treasured traditions. Due to its proximity to the Florida Strawberry Festival, Wells Memorial & Event Center allows festival-goers to park on their grass lot. The parking fees benefit Willis Peters Exceptional Center, a Hillsborough County Public School in Dover that provides educational programs for students with a wide range of disabilities between the ages of 3 and 22. “All of the money raised from parking goes directly to the school and we do not keep any of it,” said McKelvin. Due to the partnership with Willis Peters Exceptional Center, the cafe within Wells Memorial is decorated with artwork by the students. Wells Memorial & Event Center has adapted to meet the changing funeral service preferences, but its commitment to serving the community has remained unchanged. Although Wells Memorial is incorporated by Digital Memorial of Service Corporation International, Wells Memorial & Event Center is independently operated. “We make decisions at this level because we know this community and their needs,” said McKelvin.

1903 West Reynolds Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-752-1111 PAGE

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RISING STAR Mollie

Badenhorst By Taryn Storter Photography by Anthony Sassano All-American Cheerleader, Mollie Badenhorst, is a senior at Plant City High School. She is one of three captains of the Varsity team, recently leading the Raiders to a third-place victory at the State Championship following the first Regional Cheerleading Championship in PCHS history. Growing up in Brandon, Mollie participated in gymnastics from the time she was three until she was thirteen years old. Then, she cheered at the All-Star level until she entered high school. She attended private and charter schools throughout her childhood before making the switch to public school at Plant City High School her freshman year. Badenhorst made the Varsity cheer team in 9th grade and has been on the Game Day and Competition teams all four years. Badenhorst is involved in many extracurricular activities, including HOSA- Future Health Professionals, where she currently serves as President of the Plant City chapter as well as Regional Chairman. Through this club, she has achieved state recognition in the health care issues exam and extemporaneous writing. Mollie also enjoys playing piano, where she has competed at the international level presenting a classical piece. Badenhorst said: “Cheerleading is definitely my favorite sport. A lot of people don’t consider it a sport, but it actually requires just as much, if not more, physical fitness as any other sport. It’s intense, challenging, and constantly mind-blowing how creative and extreme the skills performed are in competitive cheerleading. If you actually understand the technique and skills required to perform at the level a lot of these girls do, it’s the most fascinating thing in the world, in my opinion.” Badenhorst gets her inspiration from her mother. “She has done so much for me and my siblings, more than most people see, and her heart remains kind and pure through it all,” said Badenhorst. “She truly teaches by example and has done so my whole life. I could never ever express enough gratitude and appreciation for that woman.” Badenhorst has great advice for younger athletes. She focuses on passion and dedication to the sport. “You could have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t have heart, you’re just going through the motions,” said Badenhorst. “Everything you do has meaning to it, even the smallest, hardest, most frustrating moments of your athletic career. It’s the passion in you that reminds you why you started in the first place.” As for the future, Badenhorst plans to attend the University of South Florida in the fall to major in Biology with a pre-medical track. She hopes to attend medical school and become an ophthalmologist or a neurologist. PAGE

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Plant City

Bing Rooming House museuM

discover culture, heritage & history

African American Historic Selfie Tour Explore the 25 historical structures, landmarks, and people reflecting local African American History while visiting Plant City: Bing House Museum | Sam Cooper Park | Snowden Park |Marie B. Ellis -Former Baseball Park | Marshall MiddleSchool | Law Office of Theodore Taylor Home of Bishop Bullwinkle |2020 World Women's Boxing Champion Chevelle Hallback Historic Glover School | Pinehill & Bealsville Slave Cemeteries | Bethel Antioch, Mt. Olive, Mt. Moriah, & Allen Chapel AME churches each representing over 100 years and a host of others. Visit www.plantcitybinghouse.com / click on selfie tour for detailed map & information PAGE

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Sports Team of the Month

Strawberry Crest High School Cheerleading Team By Taryn Storter

T

he Strawberry Crest High School Cheerleading team is going into the record books, recently winning their sixth consecutive FHSAA 2A Small Coed Championship. The cheer team also won the Region 3 Championships in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, as well as the Western Conference in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2020. This team is unstoppable when they set their minds on a goal. Loveny Rivas Savarino has coached cheerleading since the year 2000 but has been the Strawberry Crest coach since the 20122013 season. Assistant Coach Anthony Medina has been a part of the program since 2015, and Assistant Coach Vince Mele joined the coaching staff in 2019. Coach Loveny Rivas is so proud of her team and all that they have accomplished. She said: “This team is extremely hard working and very fun to work with. They put in many hours to perfect their skills in and out of practice. The team as a unit is very driven and competitive. They encourage each other while also keep each other accountable. The drive to succeed and be their personal best has earned them not only the program's 6th straight state title, but also the highest score of all 2A state cheerleading teams.”

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The team has two outstanding members, whom Coach Rivas felt are the Most Valuable Players. “Our two seniors Diamond Burgos and Mikenzie Shiflett have been great role models for the team,” said Rivas. “They are very encouraging and have shown great leadership throughout the season.” Mikenzie Shiflett has been on the team since her freshman year. She says about her experience on the team, “being on this team has been an amazing privilege. I’ve created forever memories and friendships with my team.” The 2019-2020 Strawberry Crest Cheer Team consisted of Diamond Burgos, Caitlyn Daniels, Aloanys Gil-Ramos, Trinity Perry, Justin Pulaski, Mikenzie Shiflett, Madison DeShong, Heather Heinze, Samya Paris, Lauren Abbey, Emili Alfieri, Karis Dell, Dakota Grigson, Rhylee Blackmon, Sophia Crow, Sarah Fabel, Savannah Jenkins, Grace Lebrun, Kira McClard, Trinity Norris, and Krystina Seufzer. On February 8, Strawberry Crest Cheer made history by winning the first National small Coed cheerleading title in Hillsborough County history. By nailing their Traditional Co-Ed routine, the cheerleaders were named the Small Traditional Coed National Champions. They placed first out of 45 teams in their division. All of Plant City should be very proud of these exceptional student athletes.


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Saturday, February 22, 2020 ORGANIZED BY:

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Meet the

Maker: Kitsune Steele By Heather Davis Photography by Cierra Craft

T

o meet Kitsune Steele, a self described “independent wandering artist”, is like being introduced to a breathe of fresh air. We first crossed paths some time ago at a Make Plant City event and I have been trying to meet with her since for an interview. Kitsune (Kit) was originally based out of Miami, but moved to Plant City a few years back to save on travel time in and out of the state. As an artist she spends most of her time on the road traveling to Comic Con Conventions and art shows all through out the U.S. Most of her time, about 75 percent, is spent traveling and participating in shows while roughly the other 25 percent is spent producing art. We met in her cozy little studio in her home that she shares with a couple other local artists to discuss her latest projects. One of Kit’s most recent and exciting accomplishments was the successful Kickstarter for a book she self published called Tea Dragons. What started out as a personal challenge to create one piece of art a day for one month developed into an idea for a book once she had a collection of paintings. Using her imagination and love of mythology combined with watercolors and tea, Kit created a collection of paintings that featured dragons and tea. Each of the painted tea dragons take on the characteristics, qualities and flavors of the tea they represent. The book contains 31 of these unique, playful and fantastical illustrated tea dragons along with the corresponding tea recipes and descriptions. Within 30 minutes of the Kickstarter the book was fully crowd-funded and her books were successfully published then launched and released out into the world seven months later. Much of the artwork that Kit creates is inspired by her early exposure and attraction to mythology, fantasy novels by authors the likes of Tolkien, and games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Using these influences as her inspiration, Kit creates artwork that appeals both to those who are drawn to artwork that is considered Pop Culture as well as Fantasy themed art. Most of Kit’s artwork is commissioned from her exposure at the shows she participates in and through word of mouth. Never far from her sketchbook she is constantly coming up with fresh and new ideas of her own expressions that spring from a place that is both intuitive and organic. If you do not have the chance to catch up with Kit at one of her shows you can follow or contact her through the social media sights listed below.

Email: silvertales@gmail.com Facebook: silvertales Instagram: artofkitsteele Patreon: www.patreon.com/silvertales PAGE

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You see them in Movies, T.V. Commercials and in Magazines!

Member FDIC

Nick Thurston

Courtney Paat

Vice President, Plant City Market Director

President, Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce

CAREN DELNISTA National TV Commercial for a Major Pillow Sheet Company with a Principal Role. $900.00 a Day. CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

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Congratulations, Nick! The Bank of Tampa is proud to recognize Nick Thurston, Senior Vice President, Plant City Loan Production Office Market Director, on receiving January’s Good Egg award by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce for his dedication and commitment to the Plant City community. Nick Thurston I 813-998-2702 nthurston@bankoftampa.com

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8/15/2019 7:46:13 AM

BOOTH

72

From Roy al ty To Re tail

This year will be full of new memories for us! Make sure to stop by our booth in the Main Exhibitor Hall and grab the perfect accessory for your pet. We will be revealing over 30 new designs AND launching a new line of products that you don’t want to miss! Kelsey Humphrey, 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen

www.pawberriesbandanas.com @pawberriesbandanas


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85 th

Rick A. Lott - Mayor Nathan A. Kilton - Vice Mayor

Commissioners William D. Dodson Mary Thomas Mathis Michael S. Sparkman PAGE

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Leaders in

Faith

David & Christina Gillett – Cowboys for Christ By Cheryl Johnston

A

n Antioch, Florida native, David Gillett considers it a blessing to serve Cowboys for Christ as Florida’s Regional Director and as an encourager to the work in the Southeastern states. The committed family man still lives on the Gillett Acres property his grandfather purchased in the 1950s, then called Wishing Well Farms. With his loving wife of 15 years, Christina, and children—Timothy, 10 and Danielle, 8, –they are neighbors on that same dirt road with his parents, George and Sherry Gillett, and sister, aunt, uncle and cousins. When time allows, they enjoy camping, visiting parks, and watching Florida Gators football. “People are different here and time moves a little slower,” he explained. “We love living across from the Favorite Farms strawberry fields on McIntosh Road. The very kind and generous owners give us free strawberries!” Today, the Plant City High School and Hillsborough Community College graduate has completed five years of Grace Bible Institute seminary studies. He preaches when needed at his home church, West Thonotosassa Baptist, under Pastor Jerry Waldrop. And the licensed chaplain earns the family’s income by delivering Red Bull products to Florida hotels, restaurants, and golf courses. How did you discover Christ for yourself? I grew up in the Baptist church, but the Gospel never took hold of me. After five years of marriage and my wife’s example, plus my dear

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friend Shane Huff ’s preaching, I cried out in my home office one day for Jesus to save me. I’ve been serving Him ever since. Tell us about Cowboys for Christ. Pastor Randy Johnson of the Reality Ranch in Zolfo Springs introduced me to CFC eight years ago. Once huge in Florida, as former leaders passed away, only two chapters remained. Two years later, after prayerful consideration, Christy and I volunteered to share the Gospel at rodeos. Then five years ago, I felt called by the Lord to become a Chaplain and return to school. We have spent countless hours traveling to rebuild the CFC organization, which is presently funded by Southern Baptist churches and private donors. In the last four years, I’ve been blessed to become Regional Director over the Florida division, with supervision responsibilities for 14 helpers, 4 chaplains, and 4 pastors. Today, I offer training, spiritual guidance, and assistance with life issues. I teach CFC classes and am the liaison among event coordinators, association presidents and field teams. Most weekends Christy and I stay in hotels, Airbnb houses or with a family opening their home as we recruit/ train volunteers. As Lead Chaplain, I also host Cowboy churches at Sunday rodeos and as a CFC spokesperson to Florida Southern Baptist churches, preach frequently in some. Community-wise, we volunteer for Antioch Days, the Noah Fall Festival and each Thursday with Missions Thonotosassa. Once monthly

we host Cowboy Church locally, courtesy of Fellowship Baptist of Thonotosassa, to reach people who wouldn't normally attend services. What do you most enjoy in your CFC work? God has allowed us this Cowboys for Christ experience to be involved in people’s lives, see folks accept Jesus and watch them grow in Him. I love seeing a youth’s smile when they receive their first Bible. Hearing stories later of changed lives is also rewarding. My dad never thought his timid son would speak at gatherings, but the Holy Spirit has brought me a long way. Now with support from my wife and children, I preach at rodeos, Indian reservations, and in Cowboy and Baptist churches. One January example included a benefit rodeo in Pierson, an overnight in Labelle to preach at the FL Junior High Rodeo church and then home to Plant City, volunteering with CFC members at the Franklin Graham rally. These days I’ll share my faith anytime with anyone, but especially enjoy relationship evangelism and building bonds with families. I believe our sacrifices for the Gospel have not been in vain, and one day we’ll hear from the Father, "Good job, My good and faithful servant." Any life advice? God works in our hearts when we read the Bible. Isaiah 55:11 explains His word will not return void. We should also resist discouragement when challenges arise, because He never promises Christians that problems will disappear. Let’s not remain as babes drinking milk. Instead, let’s prepare ourselves for adult meals through Bible studies, Sunday school, or advanced education, including many free and available college-level classes. To learn more, visit CowboysforChrist.org or phone David at 813-789-0589.


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VISIT OUR SELF-SERVICE LOCATION AT 9340 Hall Rd • Lakeland, FL 33809 7 DAYS A WEEK, DAYLIGHT TO DARK! PAGE

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102 South Evers St, Downtown Plant City deannahurleyphotography.com | 813.473.2142

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SPONSORED BY

Candy’s Corner

WELLS MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME 813-752-1111

By Candy Owens

S

isters are special from young ones to old. God gave me a sister named Karen who is more precious than gold. We have shared many secrets and the same mom and dad. We have shared lots of good times and held on through the bad. Our memories we cherish with love that has no end. I am glad she is my sister and I am glad she is my friend. It is hard to believe that on February the 10th my sister, my “Sissy”, my “Kay-Kay” turned 60 years old. My sister is almost 3 years older than I am so I pretty much grew up thinking that her word was the gospel. In fact, I look back now and laugh at some of the things that I feel victim to because she was older and I thought that she could do no wrong. HA! HA! When we were little girls Karen and I would sit under a tree in our front yard with spoons, old metal pie pans, the water hose, and make mud pies and mud cakes. We would have so much fun just laughing and making a mess that Karen would get me to eat a spoon full of mud. She would tell me how good it tasted and that she ate mud all the time with her friend Tammy Napier, so as usual, I took a big bite and swallowed. I remember the mud smelled good but sure did not taste good. Before I knew it, Karen ran in the house and told our mother that I was out in the front yard eating dirt. She just loved to get me in trouble. There were so many times over the years that I fell hook line and sinker for what she said. I remember back in the mid 1960’s our parents took us to see the new movie Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. We were so captivated by the music, the costumes, the dancing, and the fact that Mary Poppins could fly that our mother surprised us with the record album. We would have her play that record over and over in our living room so we could twirl around with our umbrellas in our hands while singing: Super-CaliFragi-List, A Spoonful of Sugar, and Chim Chim Cheree. We probably played the music right off the grooves of that record. Well, that is all that it took for the wheels to start turning in my sister’s head or should I say for the Devil Horns to start sprouting. My sister whispered in my ear: “I know how to make you fly! come outside with me and I will show you how!” I grabbed my umbrella and outside we went. Karen instructed me to climb up to the top of the iron

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trellis on the front porch with my umbrella open and jump just like Mary Poppins. So, I took my umbrella in hand and started climbing the trellis. Our mother just happened to be watching us through the living room window and ran to the front door and asked us what we were doing. I told her that “Kay-Kay” told me that I could fly just like Mary Poppins if I jumped off the roof with my “Magic Umbrella”. Needless to say, our mother put a stop to that ideal real quick. Probably one of the times that I was the most gullible was back about 1967 when I was between the age of 4 and 5 years old. Our neighbors Darin and Linton Williams invited all the neighborhood kids to come to their house and eat watermelon. Well, at that age I ate the yummy watermelon, but I also swallowed the seeds. I guess that I was too young to pick out the seeds, so down the hatch they went. My sister keep looking over at me telling me that I was supposed to spit the seeds out, but I just kept on eating those seeds. On the walk back to our house my sister told me that I had better not drink any water or a watermelon would grow in my stomach. I told her that I did not believe her and she said: “You just ate all of those watermelon seeds and you have eaten dirt before, so if you water those seeds, then a watermelon will grow in your stomach, just like “Jack and the Beanstalk.” I thought about what Karen said to me all day long. When supper time came I would not drink my milk. I was so thirsty that I started to cry. My mother asked me what was wrong and I replied: “I’m Thirsty!” and she told me to drink my milk. I told her that I could not have anything to drink because I had eaten watermelon seeds at Darin and Linton’s house that afternoon, and that a watermelon would grow in my stomach if I watered the seeds just like “Jack and the Beanstalk”. It did not take too long for my parents to figure out where that idea came from. Through the years my sister and I have played many jokes on each other. The last really good prank was about two years ago when she and her sons Tony and Nicholas invited my over to their house to eat my favorite food: Chicken and Dumplings. I should have known that there was trouble from the start because my nephew Nicholas told me to sit right down at the table and that he would serve me. I thought to myself that this was certainly a special treat because Nicholas was serving me first. My sister told me to dig in and my nephews followed with a big: “How do they taste? Are they good?” I took a bite and remarked: “These are delicious!” and then

I took another bite and then another bite and then another bite, then “wait a minute! What is that?” I looked down at my bowl of delicious “Chicken and Dumplings” and there was a real life chicken foot sticking up just like it was waving at me! I looked at the chicken foot with disbelief and then I looked at my sister and nephews and they just rolled on the ground with laughter. My sister told me that people served Chicken and Dumplings with all the parts and especially the feet back in the good old days. I think that I turned three shades of green with that prank. To this day, I do not have a love for Chicken and Dumplings like I did in the past. I can laugh until I cry when I look back at all of the funny things that my sister and I did as children. I can also look back and cry with happiness and gratitude when I think of all the times that my sister has been right by my side through good times and through bad times. My sister Karen has been the most wonderful friend, teacher, cheerleader, advisor, prayer partner, and example of how to conduct myself through life’s challenges throughout my entire life. I could not have been blessed with a better sister and I love her with every ounce of my being. When I was a little girl I would snuggle up with my “Sissy” on a rainy day and she would read me stories from our “Humpty-Dumpty” or “Jack and Jill” magazines. That was the most comfortable and secure feeling in all the world, and I hope that she knows that to this day, every time that she is near, I feel that special way. Happy 60th Birthday “Sissy”! I love you!


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Clothing • Accessories • Home Decor • Gifts for Women, Tweens & Girls 2006 W. Reynolds Street, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 842-9797 | www.sweetsouthernsassmobileboutique.com

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Culver’s Welcome to Delicious BY CIERRA CRAFT

2103 N. Park Road, Plant City, FL 33563 813-707-0800 Daily 10:30AM- 12:00AM

C

ulver’s officially opened its doors to an eager and hungry Plant City on January 13. The Wisconsin-based restaurant chain brought ButterBurgers, frozen custard, and cheese curds to Plant City’s Park Road. Culver’s Plant City is proudly owned and operated by Scott and T.J. Schwebke. The brothers grew up in Wisconsin, where T.J. and their father owned a printing company. Scott has lived in Florida for 20 years, working in Corporate America. Scott began looking for franchising opportunities and the brothers soon teamed up to start Culver’s of Seminole. Culver’s Plant City is the second Culver’s location for the entrepreneurial Schwebke brothers.

‘WELCOME TO DELICIOUS’

Culver’s serves ‘fast-casual’ food cooked to order, meaning a guest’s meal isn't made until it’s ordered. Scott Schwebke shared that as a customer places their order at the drive-thru or inside, Team Members are making fries or placing patties on the grill just for them. “Culver’s is fast-casual,” said Schwebke. “We do not have food under heaters waiting to serve, we cook it fresh when it is ordered to ensure it is the best it can be. Chicken takes five minutes, burgers take two minutes. We guarantee that when you receive your food, it’s hot, it’s fresh and very worth the wait.” Culver’s menu includes its iconic ButterBurgers which are made with a fresh, never frozen beef patty, served with customizable toppings on a lightly buttered and toasted bun. Have a hankering for a hearty dinner? Don’t worry - Culver’s has something for everyone. Enjoy a beef pot roast dinner, North Atlantic Cod Sandwich, or dig into a Jumbo Butterfly Shrimp Basket. Whether you’re looking for chicken, seafood, or a home-style lunch PAGE

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Culver’s most iconic menu items include ButterBurgers, Wisconsin Cheese Curds and Concrete Mixers. Each contains dairy from the restaurant’s home state of Wisconsin.

Culver’s milkshakes, Concrete Mixers, cones and sundaes are made in-house each day in small batches, using Wisconsin dairy. Guests can choose from a number of flavors and toppings to make their own flavor creation.


or supper, Culver’s can surely satisfy your taste buds. In a recent Kitchen Table Conversations with Plant City Commissioner Nate Kilton streamed on the commissioner’s Facebook page, Scott Schwebke shared that the cod is battered by hand when you order it, one piece at a time. Guests can pair meals with fresh sides including french fries, onion rings, steamed broccoli, coleslaw, chili, a side salad, and hearty soups. One of Culver’s most popular sides is the Wisconsin Cheese Curds, which are made with the freshest Wisconsin white and yellow cheddar cheeses that are deepfried golden brown for a buttery crunch. Ask for Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese sauce for dipping to truly immerse in the rich flavors of Midwestern dairy. For guests looking for lighter fare, Culver’s offers a Cranberry Bacon Bleu Salad with grilled chicken. The salad features a bed of mixed greens piled high with chopped grilled chicken, bleu cheese crumbles, and bacon bits. Other options include a Garden Fresco Salad comprising mixed greens, grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, shredded Wisconsin cheddar, and croutons. Guests can choose from six salad dressing options. Again, each salad is prepared when you order and not before. The Culver’s menu also features a wide range of dessert selections including shakes, floats, sundaes, cones, malts, and concrete mixers, which are handcrafted with creamy custard made in-house daily from fresh Wisconsin dairy. Concrete Mixers are ordered in two steps: • Choose your base: Chocolate or vanilla in mini, short, regular, or tall size. • Choose two mix-ins or toppings. With thirty mix-in options, there is something for everyone from candies to fruits and nuts. Kids' meals at Culver's allow even the smallest guests to explore a variety of options. Pair any of the following entrees with a small fries or applesauce, and a white or chocolate milk or a small drink. Every kids’ meal comes with 1 scoop of frozen custard too! ButterBurger "The Original" ButterBurger Cheese Single Chicken Tenders Grilled Cheese Corn Dog

‘THANK YOU FARMERS’

Culver’s is a proud supporter of agriculture and gives generously to the FFA to continue investing in future farmers. Through its Thank You Farmers Project, the company has contributed more than $2 million to agricultural education programs. Furthermore, Culver’s has provided FFA Blue Jackets to students who could not otherwise afford one. The blue corduroy jacket is the official dress of FFA and symbolizes the values of the organization. The Schwebke brothers want to bring the FFA aspect of Culver’s culture to Plant City and support our city’s FFA chapters. Scott says soon Blue Jackets from Simmons, Strawberry Crest, Plant City, and Durant will hang on the restaurant’s walls in frames. “We are looking at the best ways we can help these FFA chapters,” said Scott. “We have already made some contributions, but we want to really get to know these chapters, their calendar, and when and how we can help. We are invested in this wonderful community and excited to serve not only great food, but also support Plant City in any way we can.” PAGE

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Last Friday in Downtown

Plant City

Happenings FEBRUARY

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19th Annual FOCUS Anniversary Party and Readers’ Choice Awards 5:30PM Networking | Professional Development Keel Farms @ 5210 Thonotosassa Road Cost: Free Info: FOCUS Magazine, 813.707.8783

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Planes, Trains & Automobiles 10th Anniversary 10:00AM Airplane Displays | Scout Opportunities | K9 Demonstrations Plant City Airport @ 4007 Airport Rd Cost: Free Info: Sophia Hyde, 813.754.3707

Aspire Book Club: “Montana 1948”

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Aspire Coffee Collaborations: RAOK Boutique 8:00AM Networking | Professional Development RAOK Boutique @2804 James L. Redman Pkwy Cost: $5, Non-Members; Free for Aspire Members Info: aspireplantcity@gmail.com

6:30PM Schools | Dance Independence Academy 12902 E. US Hwy. 92 Cost: Free for Independence Academy parents Info: Independence Academy, 813.473.8600

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Born Lonesome 6:33PM Music | Bluegrass Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. Cost: $15 Info: Krazy Kup, 813.752.1220

MARCH

Networking | Book Club Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. Cost: Free for members; $5 for nonmembers Info: Aspire Plant City, aspireplantcity. wildapricot.org

Shake, Rattle & Roll 50s Sock Hop: Daddy Daughter Dance

5:00PM Food Trucks | Family Friendly McCall Park @ 100 N. Collins St Cost: Free Info: Plant City Main Street, 813.764.9516

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13th Annual Hillsborough 4-H Strawberry U-Pick 8:00AM Strawberry U-Pick | Agriculture 3524 Futch Loop Cost: $1/quart Info: Hillsborough County 4-H FL, 813.744.5519

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The Writers’ Loft

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Rise Up with Courtney Paat 7:30AM Young Professionals | Networking | Guest Speaker: Chamber Chair Courtney Paat Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd Cost: Free Info: Sophia Hyde, 813.754.3707

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Clogging Connection Fundraising Yard Sale 8:00AM Yard Sale | Fundraising Dance Connection @ 507 N. Wheeler St. Cost: Free to attend Info: Dance Connection, 813.752.1683

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Florida Strawberry Festival 10:00AM Festival | Music | Family Friendly Florida Strawberry Festival @ 2209 W. Oak Ave. Cost: $8 adults, $4 children 6-12 in advance; $0 adults, $5 children 6-12 | at the gate Info: Florida Strawberry Festival, 813.752.9194

6:00PM Writing | Networking Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. Cost: Free Info: Angela Ardrey, 813.376.8148

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Dean’s Ride 7:30AM Fundraising | Sports Hillsborough Community College @ 1206 N. Park Road Cost: $50 through March 13; $60 on race day Info: RegisterDeansRide.com.


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Volunteer Day at PCC Community Garden

Yoga on the Farm by Koa Yoga Studio and Roos and Coos Farm

9:00AM Volunteering | Gardening Plant City Commons Community Garden @ 2001 E. Cherry St. Cost: Free Info: PCC Community Garden, 813.435.8111

10:00AM Fundraising | Yoga 2125 Lanier Road Cost: By donation Info: Koa Yoga Studio, 813.323.2931

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Irvin Wilder 1931 Strawberry Festival Queen

Walk through the History of Plant City at the Photo Archives & History Center 1000s of historic photos – Strawberry Festival, Historic Plant City, People, Places, and events

106 S. Evers Street, Plant City, Florida 33563 | (813) 754-1578 PAGE

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SPONSORED BY

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VALENTINE’S DAY WISHES ACROSS 1. Water barriers 5. Beauty’s costar in film 10. Beating organ 15. Vagrant 18. Guadalcanal heroes: abbr. 19. Nudge 20. John Jacob or Mary 21. Type of acct. 22. Valentine’s Day wish 26. Wide inlet 27. Jackson or Johnson 28. Passé 29. City in Texas 31. Surrounded by 33. Baby’s place 35. Large digits 36. Valentine’s Day wish 43. __ pro nobis 44. Took, but shouldn’t have 45. Hindu garbs 46. Cut 50. Leak 52. Actor Alejandro and his family 54. Nuisances 56. Best Comedy Emmy winner of 1979 57. Bread recipe verb 59. Peddles 61. __ throat 63. Soldiers, for short 64. Sad sound 66. Farmyard enclosure 67. Swiss waterway 68. Amerindian 69. Valentine’s Day wish 76. Gene carrier, for short 77. __ binge; overindulging 78. German river 79. Health resort 80. Trojans’ home, for short 81. Months: abbr. 84. Wading bird 86. Fat shunner, in nursery rhyme 90. Disease cause 92. Long weapon 94. Slangy reply 95. Of sound mind 96. Power source 98. Sigmas 100. Beef lover’s dinner 103. Whether’s alternative 104. Valentine’s Day wish

108. 110. 111. 112. 115. 118. 122. 123. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133.

Braille-writing tools Bewildered Bondservant “I __ Happy Tune”; song from “The King and I” Monica of the courts Percussion instrument Site of the radius Valentine’s Day wish Curved letter Gourmand Holiday sounds Mr. Slaughter Pinprick cries Entanglement Fem. titles Reagan and son

16. 17. 23. 24. 25. 30. 32. 34. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 47. 48. 49. 51. 53. 55. 58. 60. 62. 65. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73.

DOWN 1. __ mater; brain membrane 2. “...shall conceive and bear __...” (Luke 1:31) 3. Thirty-five hundred 4. Stout-bodied beetle 5. Positioned midway 6. Yale student 7. Passing marks 8. Scotch mixer 9. Slight spasm 10. Disadvantage 11. Residents’ suffix 12. Razor blade name 13. Space 14. School skipper 15. Numbers’ location 1

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83. One of the Obamas 85. “__ are the times that try men’s souls” (Paine) 87. Eastern queen 88. Shortly 89. Head of France 91. Parade sponsor 93. Give renewed confidence to 97. Valletta’s land 99. Male animal 101. Boil’s kin 102. African nation 105. Moon valleys 106. Permanent places 107. One who’s joined a club 108. Unpleasant wife 109. x 112. Home of Baylor University 113. Vigorous spirit 114. Shaver’s lotion 116. Gets an __ effort; has tried hard 117. Dele’s opposite 119. Sonny __ 120. Cosmetics brand 121. Not as much 124. Poet’s contraction 125. Initials for Aaron of baseball fame

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by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews

Europe/Asia boundary Spread, for short Fictional captain’s family Cruel emperor & others Has a go at Tiny map in a large map Ways out Makes a hole Reserve Do a homemaker’s task Fixed look Swindle Sri Lanka, once Catalog Off the path Unclear Leaves Upward slope Adroitness Make a mess Department store name Airheads Shopaholic’s fling __ up; supports Skeletal parts First phase Mother-of-pearl Used a stun gun on Like an omelet Avila’s most famous resident Formal agreement Exhausts Floor coverings Trial

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For Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day Wishes E A S T H E A R T L B OW A S T O R I C D I N N E R O U D A T E D A M A D C R I B N O F C H O C O L A T O L E S A R I S R E Y S P E S T S S E L L S S T R E C O O P A A Z E N P R E T T Y R A E G E R S P T S E G R E T P E A R Y E A H E S S E S S T E A D T H A T S A Y S B A S E A E S A S E L E S C F O U R O F T H E T E R N O E L S A R E S R T A S

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L E S S T E T E R I S E M A Y O


a Gallery of Plant City

Chamber Gala On February 6, the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held it’s annual Chamber Gala. The event was Roaring 20s themed, as flapper girls and guys piled into the HCC Trinkle Center. The organization named the winners of the Best of Plant City awards and celebrated the passing of the gavel to 2020 Chairman of the Board Courtney Paat. Congrats to all of the winners: Best Community Event- Krazy Kup Community Service- Krazy Kup Customer Service- Tennessee Jane Boutique Employer of the Year- Plant City Family YMCA Entrepreneur of the Year- Brandon Snyder Health & Wellness- South Florida Baptist Hospital New Business- Roots Tap Room and Wine Bar Nonprofit of the Year- United Food Bank of Plant City Small Business- RAOK Business of the Year- Fred’s Market Downtown Enrichment- Roots Tap Room & Wine Bar Economic Development- Central Florida Development Rising Leader- Steven Hollenkamp Spirit of the Chamber- Lisa Rhodes

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a. 2019 Chairman of the Board Karen Kerr (center) passed the chairman’s gavel to Courtney Paat. Paat will serve as Chairman of the Board for one year. 2017 Chairman Yvonne Fry and 2018 Chairman Jason Jones (left) participated in the passing of the gavel ceremony. b. Lisa Rhodes was presented with the Spirit of the Chamber award. Rhodes in the co-owner of Rhodes Realty. c. Krazy Kup owner Wendy Trunzo (center) was overwhelmed with emotion when award presenter Yvonne Fry (right) named Krazy Kup the winner of the Best Community Event Award for Praise in the Park. d. Roots Taproom and Wine Bar took home three awards: Downtown Enrichment, presented by Plant City Main Street, Best New Business and Entrepreneur of the Year went to Roots owner Brandon Snyder. e. Central Florida Development was presented with the Economic Development Award, presented by Plant City EDC.

f. The 2020 Board members Courtney Paat, Mike Ardnt, Karen Kerr and Carol Wright, recite the oath to uphold the duties of their positions. g. Steven Hollenkamp was presented with Rising Leader Award, presented by Rise Plant City’s Paul Conley. h. United Food Bank of Plant City was presented with Best Nonprofit Award. The award was presented by Brian West of Publix Super Markets. i. City Manager Bill McDaniel was presented with a new award: The Visionary Award. This award is presented to those who continue to help effect positive change and work tirelessly to improve the lives of residents and visitors. PAGE

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a Gallery of Plant City

2020 Plant City ChiliFest On Saturday, January 25, twenty teams competed in the annual Plant City ChiliFest. In the categories of mild, spicy and novelty, the top two competitors of each category took home cash prizes, along with the People’s Choice Award winner. Congratulations to the following teams: Mild 1st Place: Holloway Heat 2nd Place: Brick City Bricks

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Novelty 1st Place: Ya Ya Sisters x 6 2nd Place: Krazy Kup Spicy 1st Place: FOCUS Magazine 2nd Place: Holloway Heat People’s Choice Brick City Bricks

e f a. Brick City Bricks was awarded the People’s Choice Award and 2nd Place for Mild Chili.. b. John Belcher of South Florida Baptist Hospital’s 911 Catering entered both the Mild and Spicy categories. Offering shredded cheese, sour cream and Frito chips. c. First time competitors United Food Bank of Plant City was represented by Mary Heysek and Mark Mroczkowski. The Food Bank submitted “Shrimp Boat Chili” into the competition. d. Chef Mike Ambrosino of South Florida Baptist Hospital and 911 Catering was among one of many teams that served up a spicy chili. e. FOCUS Magazine was named 1st Place in the Spicy category for the second consecutive year. f. Holloway Heat was awarded the 1st Place Mild and 2nd Place Spicy winners. PAGE

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FOCUS Plant City 19-02  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 19-02 February 2020

FOCUS Plant City 19-02  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 19-02 February 2020

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