FOCUS Plant City 20-02

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Contents Table of





For two decades, our publication has shared uplifting stories and news on Plant City’s business community. In this feature, we reflect on the past 20 years and look forward to the future.

On January 23, McKenna Jordan’s life was changed forever- she was crowned the 2021 Strawberry Queen. Jordan is joined by First Maid Avery Surrency, Court Members KellieAnne Kirkland, Brynne Murphy, and Kate Turner as they embark on a year of all things strawberry.

Photo by Rob Yoho PAGE




FOCUS Magazine is proud to present our annual Florida Strawberry Festival Issue. Inside, you’ll find the full Festival event calendar, meet the Junior Royalty, a guide to the Grand Parade, a 2021 Festival Foodie Guide, and more.

FOCUS PLANT CITY / Issue 20-02/ February 2021



Bayshore Automotives isn’t your typical dealership. Located on Alexander Street, Bayshore creates automotive works of art by fully customizing the Jeep, truck, or exotic car of your dreams. Meet owner Darren Vivolo and his team of designers, fabricators, and creatives.



We dive into something sweet, sharing eight businesses serving up some of the most delicious strawberry food & drinks from Dover to Thonotosassa and in the heart of downtown. This section features a taste of home.


Mike Floyd


Cierra Craft


Chandler Workman

Crystal Colegrove




Anthony Sassano

Candy Owens

Tony DeVane


Angela Ardrey Anthony Bolesta Cheryl Johnston Sherrie Mueller Emily Topper


Candy Owens Heather Davis Gil Gott Natalie Sweet

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 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.





10% OFF Expires 03/31/2021






From The

Publisher The Florida Strawberry Festival is more than just a fair- it's a celebration of our strawberry harvest, signifying the end of a growing season. As we hop on rides, chow down on corn dogs, and check out the live performances, may we all remember the Strawberry grower and the farmworkers, who are doing the essential work of feeding our nation. To prepare for the Florida Strawberry Festival, my team is proud to present our annual Festival issue. This issue is your guide to all things Florida Strawberry Festival- from the Grand Parade; new things to do, see and eat; and featuring our 2021 Strawberry Queen McKenna Jordan and her court. We kick off the Festival theme with our Table of Content photo of the Wish Farms Soundstage, taken by local photographer Rob Yoho. Thank you, Rob, for allowing us to showcase your talent in our Festival issue.




Also enclosed, you'll find articles about the best in strawberry food and drink, meet our 2021 Junior Royalty and

check out some of the fashion our local boutiques are offering for the occasion. It's an honor to present the Festival issue to you, our readers, yet again. It's in this particular issue, when the wonderful parts of our community come togethersmall business, agriculture, and faiththat we realize just how blessed we are to live in such a wonderful community. As FOCUS Magazine celebrates 20 years, I want to thank you all for your support in our publication; every member of our team lives in this community, so we truly are Plant City's magazine. We look forward to offering new services to our advertisers and delivering content to our readers in a new way in the year to come. If you have feedback, ideas, or a story to submit, please call our office at 813.707.8783. We look forward to hearing from you. Warmest Regards,

Mike Floyd


Queen Mckenna Jordan! From Your Parkesdale Family



The Official 2021 Strawberry Festival Bangle and Collection by Bourbon & Boweties

Join us for sangria & sweets during our


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Festival welcomes two Long time PC citizen receives new shortcake vendors for the 2021 event city’s highest honor By Cierra Craft On January 25, the City of Plant City presented Ms. Pat Pogue with a proclamation for her involvement and commitment to the community. In recent years, Pogue has served as the President of the Strawberry Youth Parade, traditionally held the first Saturday of the Florida Strawberry Festival. However, this long-time resident has impacted the community far beyond the youth festivities. Pogue has served on numerous boards, including the Friends of the Bruton Memorial Library; partnering with Hillsborough Community College in sponsoring the “Fun Festival” with former Mayor of Plant City John Dicks; United Way of Hillsborough County; and Steppin Stone Farm, just to name a few. She was an employee of Publix for 30 years, where she earned the Mr. George Community Service award. In 1989 she joined the Plant City Civitan Club, where she served in many capacities, including Governor, where she received four awards of distinction. When the club disbanded in 2016, Pogue was asked to create an organization to continue the Youth Parade. In doing so, Pogue visited dozens of schools in east Hillsborough County, encouraging participation and community involvement in our youth. New this year, the Strawberry Youth Parade is incorporated into the Grand Parade, scheduled for March 8 at 1:00 PM. While the Strawberry Youth Parade is no longer held on the first Saturday of the Festival, Ms. Pogue was recognized for her hard work to the 47-year tradition as President and as a member of the Civitan Club for 27 years. “Patricia Pogue is a timeless example of the highest standards of citizenship, forever touching the lives of all that she encountered with her selfless dedication and humility,” read the Proclamation signed by Mayor Rick Lott. To learn more about the parade merger, check out Guide to the Grand Parade on page 86 PAGE


Today, the Florida Strawberry Festival announced two new shortcake vendors for the 2021 event: Berry Amaz’n LLC and Parkesdale Express. “We are honored to have Parkesdale Express and Berry Amaz’n serving shortcake to our guests at the upcoming festival,” said Florida Strawberry Festival President Paul Davis. “Both businesses have a well-known history of providing some of the most delicious shortcake and strawberry desserts that are sure to please.” Approximately 200,000 strawberry shortcakes are served annually at the Plant City event, making it a staple among festival guests. The new shortcake vendors were added after St. Clement Catholic Church MakeYour-Own Strawberry Shortcake and East Hillsborough Historical Society Shortcake both decided to forgo participating in the 2021 event due to a decrease in volunteers. “We are very excited to offer our world-famous strawberry shortcake for the first time at the festival,” said Parkesdale Farms Director of Finance and Business Development Kristen Hitchcock. “The strawberries will be freshly picked and sliced each morning from the farm, and the cake will be the same yummy goodness you get at the Parkesdale Market every year.” The Parkesdale Express shortcake booth will be located in the Parke Building next to the Parkesdale Farms and Parkesdale Greenhouse booths offering fresh strawberries and a variety of plants to guests for decades. Berry Amaz’n LLC is owned and operated by Cindy Griffin, who has partnered with the festival for nearly 29 years. Griffin owns and operates two other festival food providers, Mavric’s Chocolate Barn and Chocolate Strawberry Express, and also provides the berries used in the Adult and Youth Strawberry Stemming Contests. The Berry Amaz’n shortcake booth will be located northeast of the Parke Exhibit Building near Pioneer Village and will offer guests a traditional strawberry shortcake or strawberry brownie delight, a new food item for the 2021 event. “The Florida Strawberry Festival is proud to continue the tradition of having the best shortcake available,” said Berry Amaz’n owner Cindy Griffin. “It's ‘All Aboard’ for the 2021 Festival!”



The Tipsy Bookworm Coming to Plant City


By Jennifer Jordan

On February 24 at 7:00 pm, The Tipsy Bookworm, a used bookstore and taproom, will host its grand opening in downtown Plant City. The Tipsy Bookworm is going to be a community-focused used bookstore offering beer, wine, cider, coffee, craft soda, Kombucha, and much more. With a carefully curated tap list and a totally unique collection of books ready to sell, the Tipsy Bookworm is looking to cater to avid book lovers who like to enjoy a cold brew with their books. Owners Matthew and Dani Morrow wanted a place that represents their passions and “couldn’t be more excited to call Plant City the Tipsy Bookworm’s home.” A place where all are welcome to quench their thirst and gain wisdom, friendships, and more, the Tipsy Bookworm will be located at 115 S. Evers Street. For further questions, the Tipsy Bookworm can be contacted at 352-872-9090.

Food For all 'Tailgate' Gala raises $100,000 for the United Food Bank By Jennifer Jordan

‘Hand Up, Not Hand Out’: Cork Community Food Bank Now Open By Cierra Craft With many unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and more than five miles from the United Food Bank of Plant City, members of Cork Methodist Church, led by Rev. George Hatmaker, realized that the Lord was lying on their hearts to help those in need in Cork and Knights areas. To fulfill that need, the church opened Cork Community Food Bank. Rev. Hatmaker says the organization is waiting for its nonprofit 501c3 license. Cork Methodist Church partnered with Tampa Bay Harvest to undergo training and pickup food distribution every week. The food is brought back to Cork Methodist Church, where volunteers unpack and box meat, dairy, nonperishables, and produce, to which each family is given a box of essential needs. The Cork Community Food Bank is open every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and free to those in need at 4815 W Sam Allen Rd in the church’s multipurpose room. Hatmaker says the group has plans to start a Pay it Forward Program, where recipients can not only receive food but help others in the community receive the goods they need as well. According to Hatmaker, Cork Community Food Bank just wants to feed people physically and spiritually.

On the night of February 6, the United Food Bank of Plant City hosted its brand-new Food for All “Tailgate” Gala at the Plant City Stadium on Park Road. Replacing the Celebrity Chef Fundraiser that has been held for the past 12 years, the Food for All “Tailgate” Gala was a fresh and new idea to help raise money for the United Food Bank of Plant City. Guests came dressed in casual football attire and enjoyed food provided by Johnson’s BBQ, music by DJ Chris with Graingertainment, lawn games, raffles, and a cornhole tournament under the stars. There was even a unique ‘halftime show’ which consisted of The Chuters- a parachute demonstration team- landing in the Plant City Stadium, with one parachuter carrying a United Food Bank flag. When reflecting on the idea of the “Tailgate” Gala, Special Events Coordinator Leigh Scott stated, “[the United Food Bank] wanted to take a new approach to our biggest fundraiser of the year, and with the Super Bowl being in Tampa this year, it made sense to go with a football theme and have a more interactive, fun, and outdoor event.” Sponsors this year included Star Distribution, Suncoast Credit Union, Unity in the Community, and Mosaic. By surpassing its $75,000 goal by raising $100,000, the United Food Bank will be able to continuously help thousands of people through services such as their Monthly Mobile Pantry and their Weekend Backpack Program. If you would like to donate food or volunteer at the United Food Bank of Plant City, call 813-764-0625 or visit their location at 702 E Alsobrook Street. PAGE








*Family Law *Mediation *Divorce *Business Law *Real Estate Law *Bankruptcy *Wills and Trusts *Criminal Defense INGRID M. HOOGLANDER





Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET

Downtown Plant City’s Small Businesses are now on the Mobile App DISTRX By Jennifer Jordan With downtown Plant City growing and residents and tourists needing a resource that would allow them access to a walking map of downtown and the businesses located there, Plant City Main Street Merchant’s Committee acted and put downtown Plant City on DISTRX, a free location-aware mobile app available for download on the App Store or Google Play. DISTRX is designed to connect residents and visitors with the businesses, events, attractions, and more located in Plant City's downtown district. Officially launched on January 29, Plant City Main Street Executive Director Jerilyn Rumbarger is hoping to get all the businesses in downtown on DISTRX, stating, “When people visit downtown Plant City, we want them to be able to identify the different restaurants, retail, hospitality, personal services, and professional services that are offered.” With filters in place on the app, you can even narrow your search if you are looking specifically for restaurants, retail, or more. A map also shows where businesses and parking areas are located, and DISTRX will display various sales and deals that businesses in downtown Plant City are currently offering. The businesses on DISTRX can upload photos, promote specials of their choosing, and change or update any of their information should anything change with their business. Plant City Main Street will also list upcoming events downtown and identify the businesses that will be participating in those events, to make it easier for residents and tourists to navigate through downtown and focus on having fun and making memories with family and friends. If any areas or parking lots downtown are closed due to construction, the app can be updated in real-time so DISTRX users are aware of the inaccessible areas or changes. Download DISTRX through the App Store or Google Play and see all the amazing businesses and offers in downtown Plant City today.




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 although they are currently being held virtually. The next meeting is scheduled for March 15th. Please keep an eye on the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times of special meetings and events and if the meetings will take place virtually or in person. The food trucks at the HOA Building/Sports Complex on the second Fridays and last Sundays of every month have been a big hit with residents. The next food truck event is scheduled for February 28th from 11:00–7:00. If you have not taken advantage of the delicious offerings, give it a try! Watch for more information from emails coming from the HOA, the entrance boards, and on Nextdoor. During the month of January, there were 6 sales in Walden Lake and 2 sales in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $289,388 an average of 24 days on the market. The January sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 206 Valencia Court North / $214,900 / 2061 Sq’ / Community / 2 Car 511 Sandalwood Drive / $245,900 / 1926 Sq’ / Above Ground / 2 Car 1409 Oakwood Lane / $272,000 / 2046 Sq’ / Community / 2 Car 3204 Thackery Way / $277,000 / 2041 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 3332 Michener Place / $282,000 / 1869 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 1710 Brookstone Way / $289,900 / 1875 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 3206 Thackery Way / $309,900 / 2111 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 2006 Masters Way / $423,500 / 3131 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car There are currently 11 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $394,909 and average of 84 days on the market. Two of the active listings are in Polo Place and when you eliminate those, the average price is 394,333 and 30 days on the market. There are 13 properties Pending Contract in Walden Lake and 2 Pending Contract in Walden Lake East. The average list price of $347,860 and average of 11 days on the market. What this scenario means is that there is less than a month’s inventory available. If you are thinking about selling, this may be the perfect time to put your home on the market. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in talking about the best strategy. Upcoming family event will be an Easter Drive Through and Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt scheduled for March 27th. The Sweet Team will be providing donut holes and beverages like they did for the Santa Drive Through. These events have been a great hit for the kids and something you don’t want to miss! To date, I have not heard anything new about the potential development plans of the golf course other than what has already been filed with the City. You can find information regarding the potential plans on our HOA website, You can also check with the City of Plant City for upcoming information. How is COVID-19 affecting real estate? As you can see from the sales data above, we do not see a slowdown of our listings going under contract, providing they are priced correctly and in good condition. We are seeing fewer homes being listed, so The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Realty feels this is a great time to list, as there are buyers out there that are looking for a home. Feel free to contact me about any real estate questions or about this article. or 813-758-9586.




Locals celebrate Buccaneers Super Bowl LV win at Raymond James Stadium By Cierra Craft The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made history at Super Bowl LV with a 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. From the game action, Pepsi Halftime Show, and watching head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady hoist the Lombardi trophy, some Plant City locals were there to witness this piece of sports history. Former Bucs cheerleader Kayla Drawdy celebrated the Bucs win over the Raiders in 2003 on the field but says experiencing Super Bowl LV on home turf with her brother, Dustin Drawdy, was ‘just awesome.’ The two have always shared a bond for football. “I told my sister-in-law there was a possibility of getting tickets for Dustin and me, so we were freaking out the entire week waiting to see if it was possible,” said Kayla. “Friday, I find out it’s for sure, and I tell him I’m going to come by so he thinks it’s to sign some paperwork. I pull out my Super Bowl ring and say, ‘Will you be my plus one to Super Bowl 55?’ As soon as the Drawdy siblings arrived at their seats in the stadium, the feeling was electric. Kayla says they never felt like Tampa Bay wasn’t going to win. From the Pepsi Halftime Show to the Flyover, the Drawdys say the event was magical. “We loved that we won Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James and 55 is special to us because we loved Buccaneer Derrick Brooks, and that was his jersey number,” said Kayla. Mahomes was sacked three times during the game, but one of the most memorable sacks came from Hillsborough County Sheriff Deputy Clint Stearns. During the fourth quarter of the biggest NFL game of the year, a man ran onto the field; Deputy Stearns made the tackle that led to the field invaders arrest. Stearns played football for Plant City High School, playing both quarterback and safety on the varsity Raider team. Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes were not the only stars of game day. The league invited 7,500 healthcare heroes, who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic. One such healthcare worker was Plant City native Marissa Aloyo Rodriguez, an Emergency Medicine Pharmacy Resident at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Rodriguez grew up in a family that loves sports and while she didn’t get to attend the game with her family, she said the experience was incredible.

“I received an email stating I had been selected to receive a ticket to the Super Bowl. I could not believe it at first,” said Rodriguez. “I was full of excitement at this once in a lifetime opportunity. Being as huge of a football fan as I am, attending a Super Bowl was always something on my bucket list.” This year has been tough for healthcare workers, unsure of how COVID-19 would impact their lives and the lives of loved ones. She says it was awesome of the NFL to provide an outlet for people who have worked so far protecting this public this year. The highlight of the game was definitely when the game concluded and it was announced that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had won. The energy in the stadium was incredible and it was awesome to be a part of the historic moment. "These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. PAGE


CongratulatIons, Madison Davis!

MIss congeniality

& top ten




Queen McKenna Jordan! From Haught Funeral Home and the David Wolf Family

Sponsored by:





2021 Florida Strawberry Festival

Junior Royalty Crowned Meet Plant City’s youngest royalty By Cierra Craft Photography by Deanna Hurley Photography

The Florida Strawberry Festival has crowned its first royals: 2021 Junior Royalty winners. On January 16, the Junior Royalty Queen, Princess, Duchess, and Baroness were crowned at the Grimes Family Agricultural Center. Audience members packed the venue to see which of the 120 contestants would take home the titles.

2021 Junior Royalty Winners (L to R): Princess Brooke Browning, Queen Bridget McLaughlin, Baroness Carrigan Brake, and Duchess Danica Gill

Brooke Browning, 12, was crowned 2021 Junior Royalty Princess. Browning says she was overwhelmed when her name was called as the title winner. “I was excited and shocked,” said Browning. “I don’t know the other girls, but I am looking forward to getting to know them through this experience together.” Garner will be joined by Queen Bridget McLaughlin, Duchess Danica Gill, and Baroness Carrigan Beau Brake. The four girls will represent Plant City, the Florida Strawberry Festival, and the state’s strawberry

Brooke Browning says she began competing in the Junior Royalty contest in the Baroness division and was shocked to hear she was named the finalist of the Princess division.



Top Ten Contestants BARONESS Tiftyn RaeLynn Gill- Top 5 Ainslee Elizabeth Creel- Top 5 Maddison Seale Ansley Gail Judah Sailor Novella Bailey Abigail Sue Smith- Top 5 Sadie Marie Wonser Hailey Raelynn Clark Carrigan Beau Brake- Winner Gabriella Nicole Perez- Top 5

DUCHESS Khloe Kay Carter Giselle Elena McDowell- Top 5 Chloe Lynn Smith Shyla Ann Stanaland Danica Faith Gill- Winner Molly Jewel Terrell- Top 5 Ella Brynn Solomon Dylan Jane Hunt- Top 5 Avery Richey- Top 5 Presley Reese Hay

The 2021 Baroness division’s top 5 finalists were, in no specific order, Tiftyn RaeLynn Gill, Ainslee Elizabeth Creel, Abigail Sue Smith, Carrigan Beau Brake, and Gabriella Nicole Perez.

harvest throughout the year at various community events, including Relay for Life, Suncoast Credit Union Plant City Pig Jam, and the Plant City Christmas Parade. “Our Junior Royalty Pageant is always a highly anticipated event,” said Florida Strawberry Festival President Paul Davis in a press release. “The judges selected four outstanding young ladies who we know will represent us well this year.” One hundred nine registered contestants participated in the competition, outfitted in formal gowns with ruffles or rhinestones. Contestant 92 Morgan Brake opted for a red fit and flare dress with a large satin bow back accent.



In the final competition, the Top 10 contestants from each category were called to the stage to answer an on-stage question: “If you were given a ticket on a magical train, where would it take you and why?” The contestants chose a variety of answers, some noting the Festival’s history, and other contestants choosing historical figures such as Dr. King or drew on their heritage to let the judges get to know more about them personally. Contestant 98 Kaiya Scarpo said growing up in an Italian household, she would choose to take the magical train to Italy with her family to make new memories. Pageant Chair Katie Varnum says months of preparation went into the pageant. The pageant committee consists of two co-chairs, Katie Butson and Dee Parker, and Jessi Rae Varnum assisted with the judges' panel.

PRINCESS Kendall Fallon Spencer Kennedy Iris Duncan- Top 5 Georgia Peyton Pippin- Top 5 Kate Elizabeth Solomon Alleigh Lynn Goff- Top 5 Raeleigh Tilson Brooke Sidnei Browning- Winner McKenna Davis Olivia Jones Teagan Ella-Rose Brake- Top 5

The competition was emceed by Suzanne Cribbs and her daughter, Caitlin Cribbs Walker. In the preliminary competition, the pair invited each contestant to the stage and read her biography aloud. The competitors were judged on personality, stage presence, and overall beauty.

2020 Junior Royalty Queen Gracie Garner opened the Junior Royalty pageant by performing the National Anthem in American Sign Language.

This year, the pageant was live-streamed on Facebook for viewers to tune in, as the pageant had limited capacity due to COVID-19. Brake, Gill, Browning, and McLaughlin’s lives are forever changed as they are now intertwined into Plant City’s fabric and the Florida Strawberry Festival history as the winners of the 2021 Junior Royalty competition.




Rick A. Lott-Mayor

Nathan A. Kilton-Vice Mayor Commissioners William D. Dodson Mary Thomas Mathis Michael S. Sparkman





Congratulations Mike Floyd And Your Staff At Focus Magazine! Plant City Has Been Blessed For 20 Years Now With Such A Fine Publication!!!

Keep Up The Good Work!





Courtney Paat passed the gavel to 2021 Chairman of the Board Mike Ardnt on January 28th at the Chamber’s annual Gala.

2021 Chamber Gala: Courtney Paat Passed the Gavel to Mike Arndt By Jennifer Jordan

At the Wishing Well Barn on Jan. 28, members and trustees of The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce gathered in their best Western Glam to celebrate the Passing of the Gavel ceremony, in addition to the Best of Plant City Awards. Members of the Chamber were welcomed by Trustee and Executive Committee Treasurer Irene Castillo, who reminded attendees to wear their masks and use the hand sanitizer available at the Gala to help keep everyone safe. Castillo then welcomed Wesley Joyner to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. After the pledge, US. Rep. Ross Spano performed the National Anthem, and Tim Lovett followed with the invocation. Second Plate Catering provided dinner for everyone in attendance and Wishing Well Barn’s DJ Boone provided the music. The program began with Chamber President Christine Miller thanking the City Commission, as well as members, sponsors, and trustees for their continued support and generosity to the Chamber. Miller also thanked her staff for their endless hard work and dedication to their community. Miller then welcomed Kayla Drawdy with Hillsborough Title to announce the graduates of a new program the Chamber launched called the Mentor-Mentee Program, which is designed to pair young professionals with an established business leader to help mentor and guide them as they grow in their careers. The 2020 Mentor-Mentee Program graduates are Paul Conley (mentored by Christine Miller); Elizabeth Oeltjenbruns (mentored by Courtney Paat); Steven Hollenkamp (mentored by Gary Pike); Sophia Hyde (mentored by John Dicks); and Natalie Brown (mentored by Bonnie Carr). 2020 Chairman of the Board Courtney Paat then gave her closing remarks. Paat discussed how the Board navigated through the past year successfully despite COVID-19 creating uncertainty. The Board’s theme for 2020, “Reimagine,” was decided before COVID-19, the group was still able to put that theme into action and use their time during the initial shutdown/quarantine to reimagine how the Chamber served its members. Paat also noted how there were silver linings through the chaos, such as starting the ‘Back to Business’ campaign, which



2021 Executive Board of Directors: Chairman: Mike Arndt, Minuteman Press; Chair Elect: Jake Raburn, Hinton Farms; Immediate Past Chair: Courtney Paat, State Farm Insurance; Treasurer: Irene Castillo, Raulerson Castillo & Company; VC, Membership Division: Lisa Rhodes, Marzucco Real Estate; VC, Community Relations Division: Nick Thurston, The Bank of Tampa; VC, Community Events Division: Chuck Gore, Stahl & Associates, Inc.; and VC, Governmental Affairs Division: Wesley Joyner, Pilot Bank. Board of Directors: Arley Smude, Make Plant City; Dean Pfeffer, Hope Lutheran Church; Deanna Hurley, Deanna Hurley Photography; Kayla Drawdy, Hillsborough Title, Inc.; Karen Kerr, South Florida Baptist Hospital; Jason Jones, Advantage Restoration & Contracting; John Haney, Ace Realty Advisors; Shari Sun, Suncoast Community Health Center; Tim Lovett, Florida Strawberry Festival; Trey Stevens, Coulter, Aviles & Co; and Shelley Jemison, Solution Source, Inc.

helped businesses reopen safely and assist them with financial support during COVID-19. Paat concluded by awarding Jake Raburn with the Chairman’s award, and the Passing of the Gavel ceremony began, with COVID-19 creating a slight change in procedure. Typically, former chairmen would line up on the stage starting with the most senior past chairman, and in chronological order to the newest Chairman, the gavel would be passed down the line. However, this year the former chairmen stood in front of the stage to be recognized, and only 2020 Chairman Courtney Paat touched and passed the gavel to the 2021 Chairman, Mike Arndt. Arndt then discussed his goals for the upcoming year, and said, “With so many changes still happening day by day due to COVID-19, it’s tough to set specific goals for this year because we don’t know what we’ll be able to do until the moment comes, but we really want to be a resource to other businesses and support our members. We also want to make sure the events we do this year reflect The Chamber’s Mission Statement.” Arndt then introduced the new Board of Directors: Chair-Elect, Jake Raburn; Immediate Past Chair, Courtney Paat; Treasurer, Irene Castillo; Vice Chair of Membership Division, Lisa Rhodes; Vice-Chair of Community Relations Division, Nick Thurston; Vice-Chair of Community Events Division, Chuck Gore; and Vice-Chair of Governmental Affairs Division, Wesley Joyner. The program continued with the announcement of the 14 Best of Plant City award winners, 11 of which were voted for by the community, and the remaining 3 were chosen by various professional organizations. The 2021 Greater Chamber of Commerce Best of Plant City award winners are:

• Community Service Award- Stingray Chevrolet • Customer Service Award- The Corner Store • Best Community Event Award- Empty Bowl’s Project, the United Food Bank • Health and Wellness Award- Chris Welbon Karate • Employer of the Year Award- Jarrett Scott Ford • Non-Proft Award- Bikes for Christ • Entrepreneur of the Year Award- Aaron Davis, Hillsborough Title • New Business Award- Second Plate Catering • Small Business Award- The Plant City Observer • Business of the Year Award- Patterson Companies • Rising Leader Award- Kayla Drawdy • Downtown Enrichment Award (Selected by Historic Plant City Main Street)- Krazy Kup • Economic Development Award (Selected by the Plant City EDC)Jesse Carr • Spirit of the Chamber Award (Selected by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce)- U.S. Rep. Ross Spano and Plant City Mayor Rick Lott As the evening concluded, members and trustees congratulated and thanked each other, reflecting on how despite the many challenges that were faced in 2020, the community remained supportive of each other and continued to flourish. While the trajectory of 2021 is uncertain, the feelings of hope and prosperity are not. The 2021 Chamber Gala cemented the notion that if business leaders continue working together with each other and the community to create positive change, Plant City will continue to prosper in the year to come. PAGE





Jessica Johnson Sponsored by:



worked in the field with my daddy. I remember there being two stores across from each other in Cork – one sold gas and the other sold groceries. That was the local find-outwhat’s-happening gathering area. It was my goto place to get a cold drink and a pack of crackers as I drove in and out of town. I remember cashing $10 checks at the gas station. That $10 would buy my gas and give me plenty of spending money for the week. I have lots of memories in Cork.

People of Plant City

Carl Grooms By Angela Ardrey-Reynolds


ou can take a flat of strawberries and walk into any crowded room and the attention comes straight to that crate of berries. There’s something about that red color,” he states. “I’m glad I’ve always been a part of that.” Known for his passion for farming and a leader in the strawberry industry, meet Carl Grooms of Fancy Farms. He is a lifelong farmer filled with achievements, experiences, and a wealth of stories – a legacy for Plant City. “I’ve plowed a mule before. I wonder how



many people can say that?” . . . He will have you laughing and sometimes saying to yourself, “I remember those days.” You and I grew up in the same area, knew the same people, and shared many of the same stories. Tell me more about the Cork area you once called home. My daddy grew up in Springhead, then moved to Cork to farm. He was a hard worker. His thoughts in life were to make a living, raise his family, and pay his bills. My momma also

You are well-known for your involvement with Plant City’s strawberry industry and with the Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA). First, why did you pursue strawberries? Once I got older, I moved to Springhead to farm. I started Fancy Farms in 1974. And why strawberries? – well, I just like strawberries. I eat most of my berries right out of the field. I wash them and roll them on the front of my shirt. And that is clean enough for me. I have been in the industry so long that I have watched the berry industry switch from planting on dirt to planting on plastic. To me, plastic laying time is like agriculture art in motion. However, there is a point when the old farmers die off. You find very few young growers trying to get into this business of agriculture anymore, of direct farming. Direct farming is putting a seed or a plant or a hoof on this earth to produce something from it for agriculture and consumption. The financial award is just not there. But if it is in your blood, then you want to do it. Some of the old farmers, like me, have sons that are wanting to step in. My son Dustin now manages the farm. Next, why did you pursue the FSGA? A group of us started the FSGA back in 1982. We wanted to make a difference in the marketing of our crops and in the processes of coming up with new chemicals, new plants, new ideas, and getting involved with the universities. Currently, FSGA has about 80% - 90% of the industry involved in it. It has done major work to contribute politically and to work in conjunction with universities to further research and development. The association has been paramount in keeping the berry industry alive. Plant City is still marked on the map because of the FSGA.





D i s t r i b u t i o n

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2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen McKenna Jordan was in shock as she was named the Title winner. 2020 Queen Meghan White presented Jordan with a crown and black sash. PAGE


Crowning Glory:

2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Crowned By Cierra Craft Photography by Cierra Craft and Deanna Hurley Photography

“And the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen is Contestant #17 McKenna Jordan,” said Amy Norman Alley, 1996 Strawberry Queen and Mistress of Ceremonies of the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant on January 23. Jordan dropped to her knees in shock as 2020 Queen Meghan White crowned the Strawberry Crest student. “I thought I was in a dream,” said Jordan, in a press release by Florida Strawberry Festival. “I am incredibly overwhelmed and eager to make four new friends. I am excited to represent the Festival and looking forward to promoting the 2021 event.” Jordan was selected from a field of 29 contestants and joined by First Maid Avery Surrency and court members KellieAnne Kirkland, Brynne Murphy, and Kate Turner. The Plant City Lions Club, sponsors of the pageant, will provide $1,200 scholarship to the Queen, $1,000 for the First Maid, and $800 for each of the Court Members. The Florida Strawberry Festival will provide a $1,400 scholarship for Jordan, a $1,200 scholarship for the First Maid, and a $1,000 scholarship for each Court member. Other local businesses also provided prizes for the top five including Florida Girl Tanning Company, Hillsboro Bank, Lush Lofts, Merle Norman Cosmetics of Plant City, YMCA, Your Family Jewelers, and Octopus Car Wash.



Crowning Glory

Top 10 contestant Madison Davis was named Miss Congeniality. The title was voted upon by her fellow contestants earlier in the week. Davis received a $400 scholarship.

2021 First Maid Avery Surrency stepped out for the Public Speaking Competition in a magenta and red pant suit. The bell bottom pant and the asymmetrical two-toned top made her outfit one of the most memorable of the preliminary competition. PAGE


When asked what her favorite place in her hometown, KellieAnne Kirkland said Mi Casa. She said the restaurant is a tradition for her and her family as a gathering place when her siblings come home or birthdays.

Crowning Glory

The five young ladies will represent the annual festival, the state’s strawberry industry, and the Plant City for one year. During their reign, the girls will make appearances at events such as all 11 days of the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival, the Suncoast Credit Union Plant City Pig Jam, and Relay for Life, among many others. The pageant, held at the Grimes Family Agricultural Center, began with the 29 contestants performing a group routine, choreographed by Stephanie St. Martin Bikowski and Jennifer St. Martin Morgan. The competitions then advanced to the Public Speaking portion, where each contestant presented a one minute commercial for their sponsor. Brynne Murphy represented Bingham On-Site Sewers, completing her speech with “let our family business handle your family business,” to which the audience erupted in laughter. During the Casual Wear Competition, masters of ceremonies Rick Norman and Amy Norman Alley- the first father/daughter duo to hold the position- read each contestant’s biography aloud and during the Evening Gown Competition, the girls’ hobbies were revealed. Some said they enjoy thrift shopping, fishing, and even attending Trivia Nights at Plant City’s The Industry. The contestants voted among the group the winner of the 2021 Miss Congeniality award, which was presented to Madison Davis. Davis received a plaque and a $400 scholarship. The Top 10 Contestants were then announced: Kate Turner, Kalei Paat, Elizabeth West, Jessica Johnson, McKenna Jordan, Madison Davis, KellieAnne Kirkland, Brynne Murphy, Sailor Ullrich, and Avery Surrency. These contestants were then asked to answer the impromptu question: “Besides the Florida Strawberry Festival, of course, what is your favorite place in your hometown and why?” Once the scores were tabulated, including the contestants’ prepageant interview with the judges, the Top 5 were announced: Kate Turner, McKenna Jordan, KellieAnne Kirkland, Avery Surrency and Brynne Murphy. Jordan was named the winner, solidifying her place in Florida Strawberry Festival- and Plant City- history.








Did You Know?

Baby Marshall’s: A Laura Street Small Business of Renown By Dr. Scotty and Hsiu Huang History Center Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.


he history of Johnson’s Sundries, aka Baby Marshall’s, and the people who operated the store is an interesting, complex, family-oriented story. We are not sure we have all the information correct but following the documents we have been able to peruse, we offer this story about a long-time popular purveyor of a variety of goods – including candies, ice cream, and great root beer floats. It starts with a well-known quiet leader of the Black community, Edward Jackson (E.J.) Marshall. Mr. Marshall tells some of his own story in an interview done by Paul Diggs as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) writers’ project in February 1939. Marshall was born November 16, 1869, in South Carolina and by 1900 had moved to Waldo, Florida, where he learned the electric company business and became a lineman, among other talents he developed. In the early 1900s he moved to Tampa and later settled in Plant City, where he said he helped put the electric lines into the small town. In Tampa, E.J. married Mattie (1910), who had had three children; young Josie Lee was about seven years old and the only surviving one of the three. They all moved to the Lincoln Park section of Plant City where E.J. employed his farming and entrepreneurial skills very successfully. Josie Lee Marshall met George Barker, who ran a “boot black” (shoeshine) business in a barber shop on Haines Street; in 1921 they had a child named Eddye Mercetia Marshall. Josie later met and married Clyde Johnson in June of 1929. Johnson was working at the large Warnell Lumber and Veneering



Company on the west side of Lincoln Park. Clyde Johnson was born about 1900 and had served in the U.S. Army in WWI and was drafted again in 1942 when he was 41 years old. He died in November 1945. We don’t know exactly when Clyde Johnson opened his store, but Mattie Marshall talked about it in 1939; Johnson’s Sundries was very well established. It was on a corner of busy East Laura Street. After Clyde’s death, Josie Lee Johnson took over the operation of Johnson’s Sundries. It thrived. Her daughter, Eddye Mercetia Marshall, completed her college education and in 1948 married George Hayes. E.J. Marshall had passed away in 1942, and under the watchful eye of her mother, Mattie Marshall, Josie Lee Johnson continued to run the popular Johnson’s Sundries just a few doors from where she and her mother lived, 912 Laura Street. In 1956, through the efforts of E.J. Marshall, a new high school for black children was constructed on land once owned by Marshall. It was named E. J. Marshall High School. Mattie, Josie, and Eddye are pictured at the dedication of the new school. Bill Thomas and Jim McDaniel frequented the Sundries store, as did many other youths. The Laura Street store was on the corner adjacent to Charlow Funeral Home and directly across from the Bing Service Station. It was a white concrete block building with a long overhang along the front of the building. Inside was a long wood counter

Edward Jackson (E.J.) Marshall portrait at the dedication of E. J. Marshall High School. L-R: Mattie Marshall, Josie Lee Marshall Johnson, Eddye Mercetia Marshall Hayes. Circa 1956/57.

where youngsters would sip their floats and customers would place their orders. Josie Lee Marshall Johnson’s place came to be known as “Baby Marshall’s” soda shop to many locals. Josie Lee Johnson ran Johnson’s Sundries until the day she died, in November 1974; Eddye Mercetia Marshall Hayes had moved back with her mother and now filled in. She continued to run the Sundries successfully even though she had accepted a job teaching at Cork Elementary School. She had also taught at Marshall High School. In 1980 Johnson’s Sundries closed. Eddye M. Marshall Hayes continued to teach at Cork Elementary until she retired in 1983. She lived in the same East Laura Street house until her death in 1990. That was the last of the Marshall family-run sundries store that had operated in Lincoln Park for nearly 50 years. Sources: Federal WPA writers’ project interview;;; information provided by James McDaniel and William Thomas, Sr.; Polk Publishing Company City Directories; Plant City Photo Archives & History Center collections.


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Tribute to Henry Falcon

It was Wednesday morning, August 21, 2019, when Henry Falcon and I sat together in his grocery store on Alexander Street. I was on assignment, researching volunteers. He was my next interviewee, obliging my request to document his story. It was the first time we ever met. During our conversation, we discussed his long-time career with Winn Dixie and the many organizations he served in Plant City, such as Unity in the Community and Meals on Wheels. “If we all would give back just a little bit,” he commented. Next, he shared past experiences and memories, taking me back to his childhood and his family’s arrival to America. Falcon stated, “My dad was always grateful this country opened its arms to us. He always taught me there were opportunities, By David Harkins and that we could do better for ourselves.” He then added, “I want You can shed tears that he is gone, to show people that they can do Or you can smile because he has better for themselves, too.” lived,

He is Gone

• Occupational Medicine


A Conversation with the Community’s Man

Hearing such a notable quality, I inquired more into this life principle – the rare principle of showing others the good in themselves.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back, Or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Falcon finally stopped me, declaring, “I do it not to be rewarded. I do it because it is my responsibility. It’s my duty. The biggest reward I receive is seeing people do better for themselves.” . . . and from the outpouring of condolences, I see now that he did.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him Or you can be full of the love you shared,

As our conversation ended, Falcon expressed sincere gratitude for the community he loved, stating, “I thank God every day that I have a community like this. It’s a very caring community. I’m a blessed person.”

You can remember him and only that he’s gone Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,

I believe the community feels the same gratefulness for Henry Falcon.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, Or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.


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Madison Davis Madi.....your beautiful heart has made us so very proud....Your true beauty radiates from within! PROVERBS 31:30 All our love, Your family


















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24th Bi-Annual Fishing Derby Winners (From L to R) Nolan Brick, Devin Dubose, David Sherrod, Colton Porter, Gabriel Garza, and Evan Scott.

Catching Good Times at the 24th Bi-Annual Youth Fishing Derby By Jennifer Jordan On January 23, The Plant City Parks and Recreation Department hosted the 24th Bi-Annual Youth Fishing Derby at a pond by the Randy Larson Softball Complex. The derby is a free event for children ages 5-15, and participants were asked to bring their own fishing pole, bait, and 5-gallon bucket. For two and half hours, children could fish using the pole and bait of their choosing and move from spot to spot to try and catch fish to win prizes that included trophies, fishing poles, and tackle boxes. The children were divided into two age groups- ages 5-10 and ages 11-15- and prizes were awarded based off different categories such as ‘biggest fish caught’ and ‘most fish caught’. Parents could help their children hook bait and cast, but the child had to reel in their own catch.

David Sherrod smiling proudly with Deborah Haldane and his 3 lb. catfish, the largest fish caught at the Derby.

Once a fish was caught, they were brought to the scale to be weighed and then released back into the pond safely. After not having the fishing derby since September 2019 due to COVID-19, Plant City Parks and Rec Program Manager Deborah Haldane said, “It’s great to have the derby continue because I started it back in 1996, and it’s a fun way to get the kids outside and learn about the 9 different varieties of fish that are in the pond.” With the Plant City Parks and Recreation Department and Plant City Water Resources Management sponsoring the event, children also received goody bags that contained interactive and educational material about fish and wildlife. Since there were ties in a couple of categories, a tiebreaking casting contest was held, where the children had to cast a fishing pole in the grass to try to pick up plastic fish as they reeled their line across a short field to gain extra points and win the tiebreaker. The event is family-oriented and even a tradition for some families.

Devin Dubose proudly holding the 1st Bass caught at the Derby and the 1st catch at the Derby.

Crystal Davenport, mother to Daisy and Briar Rose Davenport, was one of the winners at the very first derby, winning when she was 12 years old by catching the largest fish. As a result, she brings her family out to fish for almost every derby. Davenport said, “I’ve been coming out to the derby for years and even used to work the derby; it’s nice that we were able to come out together as a family and keep the tradition going.” PAGE


Nolan Brick caught the largest Bass for the 11-15 age group, weighing 1.8 lb.

It was a foggy but beautiful morning to go fishing.

The winners of each category are as follows: 1st Bass Caught- Devin Dubose 1st Catfish Caught- David Sherrod 5-10yrs: Biggest Fish Caught (3 lb. Catfish)- David Sherrod Most Fish Caught (based off casting contest tiebreaker)- Devin Dubose Honorable Mention- Gabriel Garza (Caught 0.6 lb. Bass) 11-15yrs: Biggest Fish Caught (1.8 lb. Bass)- Nolan Brick Most Fish Caught (based off casting contest tiebreaker)- Colton Porter Honorable Mention- Evan Scott (Caught Biggest Speckled Perch- 1.6 lb.) Congratulations to all the winners of the 24th Bi-Annual Fishing Derby! For further questions about the Bi-Annual Fishing Derby, contact Plant City Recreation and Parks Department at 813-659-4255. PAGE


Honorable Mention Evan Scott caught the biggest Speckled Perch at the Derby, weighing 1.6 lb.

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WISHING EVERYONE A SAFE AND HAPPY STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL! Timothy B. Williams, D.O., M.Ed., F.A.A.P. • Emily Buchholz, P.A.-C Brandy Garcia, A.P.R.N. • Chandra R. Williams, M.D., F.A.A.P. Emily S. Zink, A.P.R.N.

Plant City 2404 James L Redman Pkwy Next to Hibbett Sports 813-853-0808 Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM Saturday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM • Sunday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM



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Plant City Pediatrics believes that “children are a gift from the Lord”. We view patient care as an investment in the future of each child and take our mission very seriously. Our providers provide gentle, compassionate care to each patient, offering quality healthcare.

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Family, Country & Community: A Tribute to Don Walden July 24, 1928 ~ January 18, 2021


By Cheryl Johnston

he Plant City community lost one of its iconic citizen-servants when fifth-generation native, Don E. Walden Jr., age 92, died on January 18, 2021. Two years ago when his daughters invited family, friends, and professional associates to celebrate their father’s 90th birthday as a “living memorial,” Don cherished the fun, the conversations, and the shared recollections with those who came. A man of many accomplishments, the devoted father to Selinda and Lee-Ann was also father-in-law to Ken Keller and James Knox, grandfather to two, and greatgrandfather to three. He was preceded in death by his parents, Don Walden, Sr. and Lucile Gallagher Walden, and his beloved wife for 58 years, Lois Walden. After graduating from Plant City High School in 1946, Don earned a business degree from Stetson University and then volunteered during the Korean War for service in the United States Army. After a 22-year military career with duty tours in Korea and twice in both Germany and Vietnam, he retired as a lieutenant colonel. When he returned home to Plant City, he began a second career in commercial real estate, which continued into his 92nd year. With a long-held interest in aviation, Don earned his commercial pilot’s license and was an active and recognized leader in the Plant City Kiwanis Club, the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Association of Realtors. Generous with his time, talent and finances, he supported local causes such as affordable housing projects, organizations benefiting families of Veterans, scholarships for PCHS students desiring nursing careers, South Florida Baptist Hospital, Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, the Arts Council and many others. In recognition of his dedication to his hometown community, Don was honored as Citizen of the Year 2018. Those who know him best, his daughters, credit their father for providing them with a “great family and a great life.” One memory Lee-Ann holds dear is how Don trained the family’s chocolate brown, “smart-as-a-whip, female poodle to obey hand-gesture commands to sit, stay, roll over, and lie down. While he was one of 10 Army officers stationed at Quantico, the Marine Corps base, he loved asking the dog in the presence of Marine friends, “Would you rather be in the Marine Corps or be dead?” The poodle responded to his hand signal by lying on his back with legs pointed straight up in the air. Obviously, the Army leaders got a chuckle, but probably the Marines, not so much. Selinda recalls “laughing a lot in the kitchen” with her pun-loving father who enjoyed her sense of humor. Mealtimes and special occasions were most memorable because “seeing me in the kitchen preparing meals reminded him of his sister DonaVe, who was a great cook.” His friend Gilbert Gott remembers Don Walden as “one of those guys you don't forget. He's quiet and always observant. He always knows more than you think, and you'll get a detailed answer when you ask. He was a caring and loyal man, true to his family, his friends, and his principles.” The girls and family look forward to hearing memories from others at a public graveside service, complete with military salute, being planned for later this year. It’s recommended that those wishing to donate funds in Don Walden’s memory consider the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation or their own favorite charity. Like him, we can pay it forward.



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

WISH FARMS VARIETY STAGE Home of the GT Grandstands • Mike Walker Daily: 12:30pm, 2:30pm & 4:30pm No 4:30pm show on Mar. 14 • Florida’s Frank Sinatra, Don Juceam Mar. 4 10:30am • What Remains Mar. 4 6:00pm • SouthBound Mar. 5 6:00pm • Sick Hot Mar. 6 6:00pm • “Ace” Jackson & The Jump Kings Mar. 7 6:00pm • Valley’s End Mar. 8 6:00pm • HeanonMusic Mar. 9 6:00pm • Honor American Heroes Mar. 10 5:45pm • oxford noland Mar. 10 6:00pm • Jimmy Mazz Mar. 11 10:30am • Bits of Grass Mar. 11 6:00pm • The Descendants Mar. 12 6:00pm • Baby Parade Mar. 13 10:15am • Unpainted Souls Mar. 13 6:00pm • HOLA! Plant City Mar. 14 6:00pm

SMITHFIELD STRAWBERRY TENT • The Stephanie Ann Show Daily: Noon, 4:00pm & 7:00pm • Kazual Daily: 1:00pm, 3:00pm & 6:00pm

ENTENMANN’S SHOWCASE TENT • Dennis Lee Daily: Noon, 2:00pm & 4:00pm No Noon show on March 7 • Born Lonesome Daily: 11:00am, 1:00pm & 3:00pm No 11:00am show on Mar. 7 • Electric Woodshed Mar. 4 6:00pm • Pastor “Pee Wee” Callins Mar. 5 6:00pm • Florida Strawberry Festival Talent Show Mar. 6 6:00pm • Baby Contest Mar. 7 10:30am • The Detectives Mar. 7 6:00pm • Bound No More Mar. 8 6:00pm • Joe’s Garage Band Mar. 9 6:00pm • First Baptist Church Plant City Worship Team Mar. 10 6:00pm • Electric Woodshed Mar. 11 6:00pm • Pastor “Pee Wee” Callins Mar. 12 6:00pm • Florida Strawberry Festival Talent Show Mar. 13 6:00pm • The Detectives Mar. 14 6:00pm

STINGRAY CHEVROLET ENTERTAINMENT TENT • Deep Fried Strawberry Pie on a Stick Relay • Amish Donut Eating Contest • Youth Strawberry Stemming Contest • Strawberry Spaghetti Eating Contest • Adult Strawberry Stemming Contest • Super Dog Mega Corndog Eating Contest • Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest • Strawberry Mashed Potato Pie Eating Contest

Mar. 4 - 14, 2021 • Plant City, FL Humana SENIOR CITIZENS DAYS Mar. 4 & 11

Seniors 60+ get $2 Off At Gate Special Concert 10:30am Senior Drawing 11:45am Wish Farms Variety Stage

O’Reilly Auto Parts Ride-A-Thon Days Mar. 4 & 11 Ride All Day $17 with $3 Off voucher from participating stores

TECO Ride-A-Thon Days Mar. 8, 9 & 10 Ride All Day $20 Caspers Company McDonald’s Food & Fun Friday Mar. 5 $5 Off Midway Wristband Present any non-perishable food item and get a coupon for a Special Offer at participating McDonalds Ride All Day for $25.00

MIDFLORIDA CU Free Kids Day Mar. 6 Kids thru High School Free Admission

Circle K Super Saturday Wristband Days Mar. 6 & 13 Ride All Day $30

Coca-Cola Family Sundays Mar. 7 & 14 $5 Off Wristband with any empty Coke brand can or plastic bottle Ride All Day $20

Ace Hardware Grand Parade Day Mar. 8 Parade Starts 1pm Florida Peanut Federation TWOSDAY Mar. 9 Single Rides $2 each Kids up to 17 FREE with Paid Adult Admission

Grow Financial FCU AMERICAN HEROES DAY Mar. 10 ALL Military & Veterans, Law Enforcement & First Responders admitted Free with valid ID

Tampa Bay Times Day on the Midway Mar. 12 Noon - 10pm, $5 Off Fun Pack Ride Coupon Book with printed Times coupon

Moonlight Magic Mar. 12 10pm - 2am $25

Farm Worker Appreciation Day Mar. 13

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Mar. 8


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Mar. 9


Wish Farms Variety Stage

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The Florida Strawberry Festival will be adhering to ALL guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) as well as, local, county, and state mandates for the 2021 event. Per current restrictions, masks are required inside all structures and anywhere social distancing proves difficult.

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when treating a heart attack or stroke, time is of the essence. even during these times.

Don’t hesitate when it comes to getting emergency treatment. Even during a pandemic, you still need to be treated immediately if you have an emergency. Debating whether or not to risk going to an emergency room during a heart attack, stroke or other health emergency—waiting even a few extra minutes—could be harmful. That’s why in




all BayCare hospital emergency rooms, patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 are screened and treated in a separate area. This helps keep emergency room patients and our team members safe. So if it’s an emergency, don’t wait. For more information:






Queen & Court By Cierra Craft Photography by Anthony Sassano

Each year, our state’s Strawberry industry is represented by five ambassadors. These young women meet with local, county, and state representatives about Strawberry growers in Eastern Hillsborough County, make appearances on radio and television shows, while advocating for the Florida Strawberry Festival and our treasured harvest. They will also greet visitors for the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival. Meet your 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen McKenna Jordan, First Maid Avery Surrency, and court members KellieAnne Kirkland, Brynne Murphy, and Kate Turner, as these five ambassadors embark on a whirlwind year of all these strawberry. They discuss the pageant, their futures, and their role models.



Queen McKenna Jordan When did you decide you might one day compete in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? I decided I wanted to do the pageant the day my aunt Sandee walked into the Palace and showed me the place the girls get ready every day. Have pageants been a part of your life prior to the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? Yes, I started doing pageants when I was a baby. My first pageant was the Prettiest Baby Pageant at the Festival. From there, I did up until I was five and then I stopped for a few years. I went out for Junior Royalty and made Top 10. I competed in Calendar Girl last year, where I was Covergirl and now I am the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen.

For your local business ad, offer the best sentence you wrote “When you think of funeral homes, most people think ‘they’re creepy and they’re cooky, mysterious and spooky.’” If you could dine with one person- not a family memberwho would it be and why? Shawn Mendes. I love him and his music. Describe yourself in three words Bold, Not afraid to say what others may be afraid to say, and empathetic.

Where did you grow up? What do you love most about living in Eastern Hillsborough County? I was born at Brandon Regional Hospital and grew up in Plant City. I love Plant City because we are such a unique little town. I grew up at the Festival and helped my grandma at Parkesdale and greenhouse. Everyone is so close-knit and everyone in Plant City loves to talk. In a few words, describe your initial reaction to being named 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen. How did your family react? I was very nervous on stage. At the end of my commercial, the crowd started cheering so I wasn’t even sure if I finished my commercial correctly. I was shocked when announced Queen and I didn’t think it was real; it felt like a dream. My dad rushed to the stage and fist-bumped me Everyone was in tears and they were so proud of me. Does Festival royalty run in the family? My cousin, Kristen Hitchcock, was First Made in 1999. In addition to your responsibilities as Queen, what other plans do you have for the upcoming year? This year, I am planning on playing varsity flag football. That will be a struggle, but we will find a way to make it work this year. I am also a dual enrollment student at Hillsborough Community College. What role are you most looking forward to in representing the industry and the community? I’m excited to promote the Festival this year compared to any other year because of COVID. Obviously, we won’t have headline entertainment but I am excited to show what other things that the Festival has to offer besides headline entertainment. What person do you aspire to be like in the future? My dad. He is always so hardworking and really cares about other people. He always puts others before himself.





First Maid

Avery Surrency When did you decide you might one day compete in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? I have always known at some point in my life that I would love to have the opportunity to one day participate in the Queens pageant. Growing up in Plant City and around the Festival as a young girl, I looked up to the Queen and Court and admired their poise and grace. My mom and I have been going to the pageant every year since I was five-years-old, so seeing it and the evolution of the pageant growing up was definitely something I knew I would be extremely grateful to have the chance to participate in the pageant and be on the court.

If you could dine with one person- not a family memberwho would it be and why? It would be Kim Kardashian-West. I have always thought that we shared a lot of similar character traits. Many people see the glitz and glamour but I look up to her dedication to her schoolwork and her constant ability to help others in need. While living her life, raising a family, and going through law school, she still finds time to provide for major charities that she supports.

Have pageants been a part of your life prior to the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? I can still remember doing the Baby Parade and Jr. Royalty throughout my childhood. My mom tells me all the time that she knew as soon as she had a girl, she wanted me to do pageants… I have had the opportunity to be a Calendar Girl for two years for my high school and serve for the Florida Strawberry Festival twice for Jr. Royalty. I was blessed to be able to serve as the 2019 Jr. Royalty Queen and also have the chance to fill in for the Strawberry Queen for an event. For me, being able to do that gave me a new look at the Queens pageant and I truly realized how excited I would be to participate in the Queens pageant once I was old enough. Where did you grow up? What do you love most about living in Eastern Hillsborough County? My family and I are Plant City natives. Growing up in Plant City, you learn to love the small town and community atmosphere. My favorite part of growing up in Plant City is not only being able to surrounded by such loving people but people who treat you like family. You can walk in almost anywhere in Plant City and see a familiar face and I think it’s something that makes us so unique. In a few words, describe your initial reaction to being named 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival First Maid. How did your family react? I was surprisingly not nervous on stage or in my interview until it was time for the final portion of crowning or coronation. I can remember my



name being called out for First Maid and it was like a wave of emotions went over my body, just realizing I was blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime had me extremely excited… After the crowning, seeing my family run-up to the stage smiling ear to ear, was so rewarding; Knowing my family was so elated and proud of me made me feel even more excited and look forward to the rest of the year. Does Festival royalty run in the family? In 2008, my cousin Shaunie Surrency also served as Florida Strawberry Festival First Maid. In addition to your responsibilities as First Maid, what other plans do you have for the upcoming year? As a senior this year, I hope to graduate with honors and then attend the University of South Florida. Cheerleading has been a huge part of my life since I was 7 years old, so while also continuing to further my education, a life goal of mine is to cheer at the collegiate level. Throughout the next year, I will be working extremely hard to not only serve my community through this role as the Florida Strawberry Festival First Maid but also achieve some of the other goals I set for myself. What role are you most looking forward to in representing the industry and the community? Throughout this year, I most look forward to showing some light on the agriculture events that are offered at the Florida Strawberry Festival. I started showing livestock when I was 8 years old. But, I have really enjoyed being able to show my lambs for the past six years at the Festival. I hope that my passion for agriculture and my need to be a positive role model and ambassador throughout this year leaves an impact on my community. What person do you aspire to be like in the future? I most aspire to be like my grandmother or my Mema. She has always been the most selfless and giving person I have ever met. She has always been my biggest fan and supporter throughout my life and I truly do not know where I would be without her today. She is my best friend and I will forever appreciate her loving and positive outlook on life that inspires me to the best person I can be.



Court Member

KellieAnne Kirkland When did you decide you might one day compete in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? During the 2015 reign, Samantha Son was our Queen. During this time, I performed at the Empty Bowls event and I was super sick. My vocals were not up to par and I was critiquing the way i sounded. Samantha approached me and said how amazing I did and encouraged me to never stop signing. The way she engaged with me made me feel amazing and I have never forgotten about the joy she brough to me. In that moment is when I knew I wanted to participate in this pageant to make other young girls feel inspired and special, just like how Samantha made me feel!

If you could dine with one person- not a family memberwho would it be and why? I would choose my role model, Mrs. Dolly Parton! I truly look up to her for so many things. She has really helped me to embrace who I am and remind myself of what I have to offer to the world!

Have pageants been a part of your life prior to the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? I have competed other pageant prior to the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship pageant Junior Royalty was my first pageant ever and I won Baroness. I also participated in Little Miss Plant City where I made Top 10. I won Miss February in Strawberry Crest High School’s Calendar Girl Pageant also! The most influential pageant was, of course, this one! Last year, I also completed and made Top 10. I have a passion for this pageant and truly feel like it helps shape girls of all walks of life. Where did you grow up? What do you love most about living in Eastern Hillsborough County? Plant City has always been home for me! I was born and raised here and truly love the small town feel. In a few words, describe your initial reaction to being named 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Court Member. I was nervous, but excited all at once. The saying that really got me through the night was “do your best and let God for the rest.” When they called the Top 5, I was the first called out and my reaction was a little late because I was not sure if my number was called. The feeling was unreal and I was so happy! Does Festival royalty run in the family? I am the First Member of my family to be on the Court. I hope to start a family tradition! I believe this pageant helps young girls in so many ways. In addition to your responsibilities as a Court Member, what other plans do you have for the upcoming year? During this year, I am so excited first and foremost for the Strawberry Festival. I am also looking forward to finding my dream college and starting a new chapter there.





Court Member

Brynne Murphy When did you decide you might one day compete in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? I used to do small chorus concerts through my elementary school at the Florida Strawberry Festival when I was in the 4th grade, and at one of my concerts, I saw the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and her court walking around. Like most little girls, I was in absolute awe of them. I became so interested in their role in our community and when I found out more about the entire program for the Strawberry Festival pageant and the countless valuable opportunities that it had to offer, I just knew I had to be apart of it. Have pageants been a part of your life prior to the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? I started doing school-sanctioned pageants during my freshman year of high school and continued to do them each year, including FFA Sweetheart and Calendar Girl. The Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant was the first pageant that I did that was not a school pageant so it was a very unique and new experience for me but it is definitely one that I would never trade for anything.

If you could dine with one person- not a family memberwho would it be and why? I would love the opportunity to dine with Mrs. Charlotte Rosenberg, who was the very first Florida Strawberry Queen in 1930. I know that she would have the best and most unique stories and advice based on her experience as the first Strawberry Queen to represent Plant City.

Where did you grow up? What do you love most about living in Eastern Hillsborough County? I was born in Norfolk, Virginia and I grew up in the Chesapeake area. I moved to Florida in 2010 and I have the privilege to say that I currently reside in our beloved town of Plant City. Living in Hillsborough County, I love how many locally owned businesses that are rooted in our town. It’s so inspiring to see how the people of our community have been able to grow, be so innovative, and reall make a difference in our community every day. I really believe that the hard working people of our town is what makes it so unique. In a few words, describe your initial reaction to being named 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Court Member. Throughout the night of the pageant, I had so many different emotions and nervousness was definitely one of the more prominent feelings for me, because I was such an important night that I had been envisioning in my head for years. But, I do believe that if you are nervous for something, it shows you truly care. What was the best line from your commercial? I was personally very fond of the last line of my commercial for Bingham On-Site, “let our family business, handle your family business.” I was really happy that I got to give the audience a little laugh during my commercial. In addition to your responsibilities as a court member, what other plans do you have for the upcoming year? I have a steer that I plan on showing in the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival and I am so excited for that. I am also submitting Photography to the Florida Strawberry Festival photography contest so I am looking forward to that as well. I am so grateful that our town has so many opportunities for the people of our community to become so involved, I have been able to gain such valuable experiences through these different activities in years past and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to continue that this year.





Court Member

Kate Turner

When did you decide you might one day compete in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? Growing up, I always marveled at the idea of being in the Strawberry Queen’s court because of how big of an impact they had in their community, but as I got older, I was scared to be vulnerable walking on stage in front of so many people. Then, two years ago, my cousin Madilyn Conrad was on the court and as I watched her make so many memories with her new friends while representing the Festival and serving the community, that’s when I realized being part of the court was too big of an opportunity to pass up because of fear. Have pageants been a part of your life prior to the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant? No! 2021 Strawberry Queen was my very first pageant! I have never been interested in doing pageants, but Strawberry Queen is more than just a pageant with the goal of winning a crown of the sash at the end of the night. The Strawberry Queen’s Scholarship Pageant gives you the opportunity to hold a role of servitude in the community, along with representing the Florida Strawberry Festival all year long.

If you could dine with one person- not a family memberwho would it be and why? If I could dine with one person, it would be a Sunday Brunch with Reece Witherspoon. She is the definition of Southern grace and charm. I can only imagine the conversations, meal, and fun we would have. Plus, brunch is my favorite with good coffee and the thought of the centerpieces and tableware she would have set already makes me excited.

Where did you grow up? What do you love most about living in Eastern Hillsborough County? Living in Eastern Hillsborough County, I grew up going to the Festival and spending time in Plant City going to Little League Baseball games, shopping at RAOK, and eating at Fred’s Market with my family. I have so many memories here but going to the Festival each year is my favorite. I love walking through the gates and before I can even get my Fiske Fries, I see my friends from church or school, or I meet someone new. I love how easy it is to meet new friends and find old ones, not only at the Strawberry Festival, but around Plant City as a whole. In a few words, describe your initial reaction to being named 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Court Member. I was shaking every time I was on stage! This was my first pageant ever so being vulnerable on stage in front of hundreds of people and hundreds more watching from home was a big deal for me! Standing on stage waiting for the new Queen and court to be announced, the nerves were gone and excitement was all that remained. I was incredibly proud of myself for making the Top 10 and I was ready to go see my infamous hype section, filled with friends and family, but the Lord had bigger and better plans and when I was called as a member of the Queen’s court, I was completely shocked and beyond excited. It was a moment I will never forget. In addition to your responsibilities as a Court Member, what other plans do you have for the upcoming year? The service aspect of the Strawberry Queen and her court has always been the most exciting for me. I love volunteering and giving back to the community in any way possible. I am looking forward to being a servant in the community only the eleven days of the Strawberry Festival, but all year long. I love meeting new people as well, so I am beyond excited to walk around the Strawberry Festival and welcome everyone while making so many new memories.







10 Offices to Better Serve You!


Home of the ream visit



Dennis Lee






Humana Senior Citizens Day | O’Reilly Auto Parts Ride-A-Thon Day

Caspers Company McDonald’s Food & Fun Day

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Free Kids Day Circle K Super Saturday Wristband Day

Coca-Cola Family Day

Deep-Fried Strawberry Pie On A Stick Relay @ 2PM in the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30PM in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage Showcase Tent 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Electric Woodshed Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage 10:30 am: Florida’s Frank Sinatra, Don Juceam 11:45 am: Senior Citizen Drawing 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: What Remains Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 7:00 pm: Mosaic Youth Swine Show



Amish Donut Eating Contest @ 12PM in the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 PM in Scott’s World of Magic Show Tent Showcase Tent 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Pastor “Pee Wee” Callins Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: Southbound Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 1:00 pm: Dairy Contestant Judging 7:00 pm: Mosaic Youth Swine Sale

Youth Strawberry Stemming Contest @ 2PM in the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 PM in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage Showcase Tent 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Florida Strawberry Festival Talent Show Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: Sick Hot Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 11:00 am: Dairy Show Showmanship 1:00 pm: Dairy Show

Showcase Tent 10:30 am: Baby Contest 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: “Ace” Jackson & The Jump Kings Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 11:00 am: Dairy Showmanship (Adults) 11:30 am: Dairy Pee Wee Showmanship 12:30 pm: Dairy Costume Ball 2:00 pm: Youth Plant Sale

Stephanie Ann Show MONDAY, MARCH 8TH


Ace Hardware Grand Parade | Ride-A-Thon Day

Florida Peanut Federation TWOSDAY Ride-A-Thon Day

The Grand Parade, presented by BerryFine Productions, begins in downtown Plant City at 1:00 pm and will pass the Festival Midway at 2:00 pm. Strawberry Spaghetti Eating Contest @ 5PM in the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Showcase Tent: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Bound No More Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: Valley’s End Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 3:00 pm: Lamb Jumping Contest 7:00 pm: Lamb Costume Contest

Mike Walker

Baby Contest

Peachy’s Youth Pretzel Making Clinic @ 12PM and 2PM in the Kiddie Korral Fanta Showcase Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 PM in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage Showcase Tent: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Joe’s Garage Band Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farm Variety Stage: 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: HeanonMusic Patterson Co. Livestock Arena: 3:00 pm: Lamb Showmanship 5:00 pm: Lamb Show

Robinson’s Racing Pigs PAGE


Moonlight Magic WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10TH


Grow Financial FCU American Heroes Day Ride-A-Thon Day

Humana Senior Citizens Day O’Reilly Auto Parts Ride-A-Thon Day

Super Dog Mega Corndog Eating Contest @1PM in the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Fanta Showcase Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 PM in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage

Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest @ 2PM in the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Fanta Showcase Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 PM in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage

Showcase Tent: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: First Baptist Church Plant City Worship Team

Showcase Tent: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Electric Woodshed

Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual

Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual

Wish Farms Variety Stage: 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 5:45 pm: Honor American Heroes 6:00 pm: Oxford Noland

Wish Farms Variety Stage 10:30 am: Jimmy Mazz 11:45 pm: Senior Citizens Drawing 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: Bits of Grass

Patterson Co. Livestock Arena: 6:00 pm: Mosaic Youth Steer Show

Livestock Co. Livestock Arena 7:00 pm: Mosaic Youth Steer Showmanship

Grand Parade PAGE


Pee Wee Callins


2021 NO


We Buy Gold & Silver

1705 Jim Redman Pkwy Plant City, FL 33563


Front Row L ti R is Brenda and Naomi. Back row L to R is Maggie and Owner Rusty Brown.





Tampa Bay Times Day on the Midway Moonlight Magic Night

Coca-Cola Family Day

Fanta Showcase Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 PM in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage Strawberry Mashed Potato Pie Eating Contest @ 3 PM in the Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent Showcase Tent: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Pastor “Pee Wee” Contest Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: The Descendants Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 6:00 pm: Beef Breed Showmanship Moonlight Magic: 10:00 pm to 2:00 am

Kitchen Craft Cookware Drawing @ 1:00 pm in the Neighborhood Village Pulaski Vacation Getaway @ 2:00 pm in the TECO Expo Hall Fanta Showcase Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 pm in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage Stringray Chevrolet Corvette Drawing @ 6:00 pm in the East Independent Showcase Tent: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: The Detectives Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage: 12:30 pm & 2:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: HOLA Plant City! Patterson Co. Livestock Arena: 11:00 am: Youth Beef Breed Show

SATURDAY, MARCH 13TH Farm Worker Appreciation Day Circle K Super Saturday Wristband Day Baby Parade @ 10:15 am in the GT Grandstands Fanta Showcase Soda Throwdown @ 2:30 PM in the Scott’s World of Magic Show Stage Showcase Tent: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm: Born Lonesome 12 pm, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm: Dennis Lee 6:00 pm: Florida Strawberry Festival Talent Show Smithfield Strawberry Tent: 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 7:00 pm: The Stephanie Ann Show 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, & 6:00 pm: Kazual Wish Farms Variety Stage: 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, & 4:30 pm: Mike Walker 6:00 pm: Unpainted Souls Patterson Co. Livestock Arena: 7:00 pm: Mosaic Youth Steer Sale

Steer Show PAGE





Parade participants include gymnasts who perform ariel flips for the spectators.

As the official mascots, Mr. and Mrs. Berry make appearances throughout the parade and the Festival.

Guide to the 2021 Grand Parade Written by Cierra Craft


n the first Monday of the Florida Strawberry Festival, the same day the school district designates as a student holiday for the famous festival, the Grand Parade marches through Plant City. Elaborate floats, dancers, clowns and city leaders create a family-friendly atmosphere of pride for Plant City. For more than half a century, the parade has drawn spectators who line the two-mile route. The parade begins at 1:00 p.m. on Evers Street and MLK Blvd heading north to Reynolds Street. The parade turns left on Reynolds Street, passing the Festival midway about 2:00 p.m and ending at the Festival’s red parking lot. The parade is presented by Berry Fine Productions. The parade grew throughout the years, becoming a large-scale annual tradition for high school marching bands, dancers, gymnasts, and Plant City’s small businesses. One such tradition is the selection of the Grand Marshal. This year, Sharon Moody, was selected for the honor. Sharon Moody is a Plant City native; upon graduating from high school, she was employed with the Hillsborough County School Board, a bank loan officer, the State of Florida Department of Revenue, and the Executive Director of the Plant City Boys and Girls Club. She is currently sitting on the board of several civic organizations, including Plant City Black Heritage, Inc., Unity in the Community, Plant City Christmas Parade, Kiwanis Club, to which she currently serves as the Vice Governor for the state of Florida. The Strawberry Youth Parade- typically held on the Saturday priorwill be merging into the Monday parade. While the decision to discontinue the Saturday parade wasn’t an easy one, “the blending of the two events comes as many community businesses and organizations, in years past, have



had to close or adjust their hours of operations due to the events being held separately. While acknowledging the resounding youth community involvement the Strawberry Youth Parade represents, it is superseded by the economic hit local businesses endure each year,” according to the Florida Strawberry Festival. “Many elements of the youth parade will remain and, by combining with Berry Fine Productions Grand Parade, we are looking forward to giving our city the biggest and best parade ever,” said Chairwoman of the Youth Parade Pat Pogue. Including the merger, Berry Fines Production president Gail Lyons says she expects 100 entries- the maximum number allowed for the annual event. Parade participants new to the Grand Parade this year include ACE Hardware, among many others. This year, parade participants are asked to toss beads and not to make close contact with spectators as a COVID-19 precaution. Along the parade route, spectators are asked to socially distance themselves, wear masks, and use hand sanitizer to keep their hands clean. Despite these new protocols, Lyons says the event will still be a great time.

Cheer teams for the area high schools, including Strawberry Crest, often march with the school bands.



Festival Fashion A

Two Blondes Boutique


Red Basic Knit Tank $21.95 Strawberry Nights Distressed Shorts $41.95 Strawberry Pearl Studs $12.95 The Sydney Sandals $15.95


Sweet Roots Apparel




Retro Berry Tee $28 Distressed Bell Bottoms $42 Berry Sweet Backpack $36 Inspired Berry Earrings $15


Fruitful Pink Tee $26 Black Skinnys $34 Strawberry Fields Stack $28 Berry Pink Stud Earrings $12 Small Town Girl Denim Jacket $45

RAOK 2804 James L Redman Pkwy #103 D Midway Moment Custom


Embroidered Denim Jacket $95 Berry Time Tee $30 Erimish Strawberry Royalty Stack $35 Erimish Strawberry Mask Chain $25 Showmanship Cow Print Bootie $41


Fringe Boutique Strawberry Kitchen Decor & Accessories E Strawberry Tumblers & Epoxy Cups - personalization available - $15.99 - $39.99 Pawberries Strawberry Mask $16.99 Utensil Crock & Strawberry Mini by Nora Fleming $13.50 - $36.00



The Festival is welcoming new vendors this year. What new vendors can guests expect to see this year? Wow- last time I checked, there were nearly 400 vendors and concessioners! Many of our more seasoned vendors and exhibitors, that have been with us for decades, are a big hit, but if I had to name a few “new kids on the block”, the new Bullseye Bow exhibit is a family-owned business that creates hand-made, kid-friendly bow and arrow sets. They’re really cool because of their unique design! I’m definitely keeping those in mind for the grandkids. I’m also eager to check out the new Genuine Gray Brand exhibit. They specialize in selling bristle-free BBQ brushes, thermometers, grill mats and other accessories for the grill. You can certainly find what you need for the GrillMaster in your life!

President Paul Davis’ All Aboard Written by Cierra Craft


rom March 4-14, 2021, the Florida Strawberry Festival will roll out the red carpet for visitors from around the world to enjoy exhibits of agriculture, commerce, industry, livestock, fine arts, food, horticulture, and crafts. More than 10,000 acres of strawberries are planted annually in the local area. In fact, there are some 2,800 farms in Hillsborough County that produce fruit and vegetable crops with an annual value of over $360 million. Florida Strawberry Festival President Paul Davis sat down with FOCUS Magazine to share how the Festival is navigating the pandemic and ensure visitors are sure to enjoy the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival traditions with a twist.

How was the theme "All Aboard" chosen? Every year, our staff collaborates together to generate ideas for the new theme. We wanted the theme this year to reflect our enthusiasm for togetherness so, we thought it would be fitting to play off of that with a railroad theme and we feel like this is a concept our community will really jump on board with, so to speak. A new theme is created each year for the festival to offer patrons a glimpse of the experience they will have at the 11-day event. It also unifies vendors, FFA chapters, organizations, corporate partners, and exhibitors who create parade floats and displays throughout the event. “All Aboard!” Everyone wants to know- what measures are the Festival taking to protect guests, volunteers, and vendors from COVID-19? We will be releasing our COVID-19 guidelines as we get closer to the date of our event. I can assure you we will be in compliance with the most up-to-date guidelines and mandates from the county, state, and CDC. We will be meeting with all our volunteers in the coming weeks prior to the 2021 event to ensure their understanding of the important role they play in helping to promote a safe, fun, and socially distant environment. All of our volunteers, security personnel, maintenance workers, paid employees, staff, and board members will be required to wear a mask at all times while on the grounds. We have installed nearly 100 hand sanitizing dispensers throughout the grounds and, like in years past, our handwashing stations are available in several locations. This year, our guests may also notice additional signage posted to inform and encourage our patrons to follow the CDC recommendations to help promote social distancing guidelines and safety. We continue to ask our guests and community members to remember this is an ever-evolving situation and our guidelines can change based upon the most current recommendations. We are looking forward to a safe and fun BerryFest21! PAGE


In lieu of headline entertainment, what shows and exhibitions are you most looking forward to? A local Bluegrass Band called Born Lonesome is new this year. They’re a member of the International Bluegrass Music Association and we think they have a great sound that our guests will love. Our 2020 Battle of the Band runner up, Electric Woodshed will be performing in the showcase tent during the 11-day event. They are a Tampa Bay area-based band that performs an eclectic mix of music that will blow you away! The Detectives, a local reggae band from Lakeland will also be in the showcase tent and you don’t want to miss them! With all the incredible local talent we have been able to secure of the 2021 event, we thought it would be equally as entertaining to host our very own talent show. The talent show, which is hosted by Dark Horse Music Store, will be held both Saturdays in the showcase tent and will highlight local amateur performers/musicians/bands who want to share their talents on the stage. Head to our website to get all the information you need to sign up. I can’t wait to see you there! What is your favorite way to eat strawberries at the Festival? Do you recommend any particular booths for certain items? Depends on how I feel! Some days I enjoy a milkshake… others, a shortcake hits the spot. The good thing is, whatever I’m in the mood for, I know that I will find it at the Festival. You can get just about anything you can possibly imagine with strawberries in it. That’s the truth! Each year, we look forward to anticipating what new sweet strawberry treats our concessioners come up with. We know they take great pride in creating berry tasty confections our patrons will love. I know I sure do, and be sure to look for our “What’s New?” press release on our website for all the up-to-date information. If anyone reading this article has never visited the Florida Strawberry Festival, what is one exhibit they must-see? There are so many wonderful exhibits to see here at the Festival, but if I had to choose just one, I would really encourage our guests to see the Florida Strawberry Growers Association Strawberry production exhibit. Each year the association creates a display to give our guests a glimpse of how strawberries are grown and harvested. The exhibit also includes educational information so guests can learn more about the industry and hear first-hand accounts from local producers at the “Ask A Farmer” booth. We hope our guests leave with a better understanding of how important the strawberry industry is to our economy and the City of Plant City. It really is a sight to see and one of the most beautiful showcases on our grounds. Is there anything I haven't asked that you want people to know about the 2021 FSF? We know this year is going to be different. We want our guest to know that careful consideration has been put into every decision we have made for the 2021 event. We plan to host a safe and fun festival just like we have in the past. We are honoring our vendors, exhibitors and concessioners who cannot attend, and look forward to welcoming them next year. We are hopeful for a successful event in spite of the shortcomings that we have experienced during the pandemic. I’m sure you can agree it’s been a challenging year and we think the Festival is just what our community needs. We are honored to support the city that sustains us year after year and celebrate the bountiful strawberry harvest our community cherishes.

3012 James L Redman Parkway Plant City, FL 33566

(813) 707-0520





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Katura Stansberry Clinic Manager with her Best Friend “REX”



1. You've been an associate director of the Festival for 16 years and last year, were named a Director. Can you share with our readers a bit about what it means to be a Director of the Florida Strawberry Festival?

I have been involved with the festival in some form for 25 years. It is an organization that reinvests into our community both directly and by allowing so many non profits a means to raise funds. To be part of the festival and a director you have to truly love it. The volunteers, vendorssome of which are 3rd or 4th generation- and the Board itself become extended family. It is a lot of work and we as Directors meet all year to plan for each festival. But I love it. When I first got involved with the Festival, a Director told me the only people who should become Board Members are those that truly love the festival. I think all of us on the Board really love what we do.

2. Many are curious- how can they protect themselves from COVID-19 and still partake in the Festival fun?

We are working closely with the Department of Health following all guidelines. I would strongly encourage masks, anyone eligible for the vaccine should get it. The Festival has increased hand sanitizer stations throughout the fair. We will set up tables and seating to social distance. We have sanitizer sprays that will be used inside all buildings. All festival vendors, volunteers, Board members, and employees will wear masks. Most important is just some basic common sense precautions.

3. I've been told you're the in-house doctor. Does your career as a doctor impact your role as a Festival director? Are the responsibilities centered about your expertise?

Definitely being a Doctor and dealing with COVID has been an asset for the festival. I have worked closely with Paul Davis and Dub McGinnis working on how to navigate through this pandemic. My duties as a Director cover more then my medical expertise; I am on the Traffic and Safety committee. Over the years I have been on the Steer Committee and for a long time, I ran the rabbit and chicken show. Like all of the Board, we help wherever we are needed and pull together to make the festival what it has become.

4. What are you most looking forward to at the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival?

Meet Director Michael Salvato Written by Cierra Craft


r. Michael Salvato has served as an Associate Director for 16 years and in 2020, was promoted to Director. He has been part of numerous Festival committees including the Americans with Disabilities Act committee. He also serves as the Festival’s “on-call” physician. He and his wife, Linda, have five children. Dr. Salvato shared with FOCUS what guests can do to protect themselves against the COVID-19 while in attendance. Meet Dr. Salvato and he shares his Festival experience and his role at the Festival’s “Doc.”



COVID has really stressed out people as a whole. It will be nice for people to be able to get out and just do some fun things. It will definitely be different but much of what makes the Festival what it is is the people and hopefully we will give people a chance to come out and have some fun. We as a Board are doing everything to make it as safe of a venue as possible. I hope people will come out to enjoy the festival. I feel Disney has shown us it is possible to have safe venues. Most important is that all of us cooperate with the safety protocols think about those around us and just come to have a good time







Festival Foodie Guide

Each year, foodies flock to the Florida Strawberry Festival to seek out new exciting fair foods and indulge in old favorites. These are just a few of the highly sought after food vendors returning to the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival. To prevent long lines and crowding in the fight against COVID-19, some of these vendors may have been relocated from previous years. Please visit the Florida Strawberry Festival website for any information about food vendors and the Festival’s response to COVID-19 at

Vinegar French Fries

Amish Doughnuts

Fresh-peeled, fresh-cut, Fiske Fries remains unchanged for 80 years. These French fries are never frozen and Fiske Fries owner Jerry Price said in an interview with ABC News the most popular way to eat them is with a little vinegar and salt. Year after year, Festival goers share Fiske Fries are a favorite.

Sarasota-based Peachy’s Baking Co. makes a splash each year with their famous Amish doughnut. Whether glazed original, coconut cream, or the Sweetheart- a Peachy’s original donut, drizzled with chocolate, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. You will find at least three Peachy’s iconic teal trucks on the Festival grounds.

Vendor: Fiske Fries



Vendor: Peachy’s Baking Co.

Strawberry Parfaits, Cheesecake, & Moren

Island Noodles

Chocolate Dipt Bacon

Island Noodles is back with their wok-fired Soba noodles. It’s a simple meal served in take-out containers, consisting of Soba noodles, a variety of 21 vegetables and a proprietary sauce. Order with chicken for extra protein and top with Sriracha to spice things up. Don’t forget the chopsticks!

Plant City native Cindy Griffin founded Mavric’s Chocolate Barn, serving up delicious treats dipped in chocolate. When strawberries, marshmallows, and marshmallow rice treats dipped in chocolate were enough, the Griffins began serving Chocolate “Dipt” Bacon! Combining the savory Hormel thicksliced bacon with the sweet chocolate, it’s one of the Festival’s most sought after treats.

Vendor: Alessi Bakery

Chocolate Bacon Kabob

Hand-Dipped Buttermilk Corndogs

Strawberry Brisket Tacos

Vendor: Island Noodles

Vendor: Mavric’s Chocolate Barn

Vendor: Sunshine Concessions

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.

Vendor: Smitty’s

Crisp on the outside, warm and doughy on the inside, Smitty’s Original Hand-Dipped Buttermilk Corndogs are one of the many reasons to get excited about the Florida Strawberry Festival. With two stands on the festival grounds, these are said to be the best corn dogs at the Festival- don’t leave without one.

Candy & Caramel Apples Vendor: Netterfield’s Popcorn & Lemonade, Inc.

Netterfield’s is fair famous for their lemonade and popcorn, but don’t sleep on Netterfield’s Candy & Caramel Apples. Whether the glossy traditional red Candy Apples or the beautiful Caramel apples rolled in sprinkles, peanuts and other toppings, Netterfield’s cool crisp apple core is exactly what you want.

Tampa’s historic Alessi Bakery will be back to the TECO Expo Hall with all of your traditional strawberry favorites as only Alessi can. Be sure to indulge in their strawberry cheesecake, éclairs, tarts, turnovers, parfaits and more.

Vendor: Johnson’s BBQ

Local favorites Johnson’s BBQ will be at the Festival yet again with their Strawberry Brisket Tacos. Johnson’s delicious brisket, topped with cilantro, onion, cheese, sweet BBQ sauce and fresh sliced strawberries in a soft tortilla. If you’re looking for a familiar BBQ taste with a new twist, be sure to say hello to Owen Johnson and the crew at the Festival.

NEW Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Funnel Cake Vendor: Best Around Concessions

Jane Harris, known as Mama Jane, has announced her new 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival treat: Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Funnel Cake. Topped with fresh Wish Farms strawberries and lemon glaze, Mama Jane says the lemon and ricotta are in the funnel cake, making it extra moist. PAGE






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Darren Vivolo and his wife, Karen, are parents to four kids. Residents of Lithia, Darren says his family prefers to do business in Plant City versus other communities and the decision to move his business to Plant City was an easy one.

Bayshore Automotive By Cierra Craft Photos by Cierra Craft


ince 2000, Bayshore Automotive has served as Tampa’s no. 1 custom Jeep, truck, and exotic car dealer. Step onto the lot, located at 611 South Alexander Street, and you’ll find vehicles unlike any other, from a Tiffany Blue Bentley to a lifted Jeep themed after Star Wars’ iconic stormtroopers. Bayshore Automotive comprises a team of mechanics, fabricators, designers, and more, who create a custom work of automotive art for you. “We have a full detail and reconditioning facility that goes to great lengths to ensure your car is perfect,” said Dealer Principal Darren Vivolo. “Our service department safety checks every car and we offer extended warranties. We build the best custom jeeps and 4x4 trucks, too.” Vivolo is a resident of Lithia and says the choice to relocate Bayshore Automotives from Ybor City to Plant City was driven not only by the community’s appeal to custom vehicles, but Darren, his wife Karen, and their four kids prefer to do business in Plant City. “We were located in Ybor City for 10 years and it was great, but I like Plant City,” said Vivolo. “When my family and I go out to eat,



This 2020 Jeep Gladiator is brand new and loaded with tons of upgrades: Full Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 paint job, DV8 inner fenders, rear bumper and flat fenders., 37” Federal Xplora MTS tires, and custom blue diamond stitch on red leather interior. These are just a few of the customizations made to this beautiful vehicle.

This pre-owned 2020 Jeep Gladiator Custom Lifted Gator Gladiator has 11,000 miles with green exterior and brown leather interior. An 8 speed Automatic Transmission and a 3.6L V6 engine. Call David Raciti or John Martinez to view this customized Jeep.

we prefer to come to Plant City versus Brandon or Fishhawk. We like being in Plant City and doing business in Plant City. For the business, it’s the perfect fit for custom Jeeps and trucks. Everyone in Plant City either has a lifted truck or they want one.” Vivolo is joined by General Manager David Raciti. Raciti is a Plant City resident and a member of The Crossing Church of Plant City, working in Youth Ministry with the middle school and high school students. His daughter goes to Walden Lake Early Learning and the Racitis support local businesses like Krazy Kup. Darren says when customers walk into Bayshore or call into Bayshore, they will work with David directly. “We like doing business with local vendors and it’s important to us,” said David Raciti. “When you choose Bayshore, it’s a matter of trusting us to design a vehicle to the specifications our customers choose from the interior to the exterior.” Bayshore Automotive’s Internet Sales team is led by John Martinez. Martinez oversees the customization of online vehicle purchases, where the vehicle is shipped out of state, where the client doesn’t see the vehicle until it is delivered to their driveway. “We offer door-to-door delivery and will set up shipping, at your request,” said Darren Vivolo. “Worldwide exporting is our specialty.” Schedule an appointment with Raciti or Martinez to view Bayshore’s impressive inventory of custom Jeep Wranglers and Jeep Gladiators, custom Ford trucks, and custom Chevrolet trucks, as well as luxury cars. These pre-owned vehicles can be purchased with a pre-built custom package, or you can work with Bayshore to customize a vehicle to your exact specifications. At Bayshore Automotive, there isn’t a single inch of the vehicle that can’t be customized. From tires, rims, and lifts to the customized leather interior and LED lighting. “From the time of purchase to design and even financing, our clients with one person from A to Z,” said Vivolo. “There is no run around of ‘talk to the Finance guy’ or ‘talk to the designer,’ you’re given an individualized customer experience at Bayshore.” Bayshore Automotive offers brands such as Fuel, Nitto Fab Four, Toyo, ReadyLIFT, DV8, and Plant City’s own HD Wheels. Bayshore also offers its own proprietary brand, OCD. Bayshore Automotive takes trades of all kinds including RVs and boats and offers bank financing options to get you into the vehicle of your dreams. Clients can apply for financing online at “Let us earn your business,” said Darren Vivolo. “I guarantee a pleasant buying experience and I promise that our family at Bayshore Automotive will take great care of you and your family.”

This bright red leather interior features blue stitching in a diamond pattern. From bright pops of color to neutral tones, Bayshore Automotive can customize your interior to the materials of your choice, in the color of your choice and with custom stitching. If you can dream it, Bayshore Automotive can do it!

TAKE IT FROM BAYSHORE CUSTOMERS Bayshore Automotive is highly rated on Google, DealRater, and Customers rave about Bayshore’s easy car-buying experience and quality customer service. “Amazing selection of custom vehicles, fair prices, and top-notch customer service. David was my salesman and he was awesome! I absolutely love my Jeep! Very accommodating...I wanted leather seats and David is making it happen for hubby and daughter are both wanting to get their next vehicle from Bayshore Automotive. You will not be disappointed!” - Stacy W. “If you are looking for a great place to buy customized Jeep. This is the only place to buy. They were great to deal with but more importantly they stand behind their product.” - Tony S. “I had an amazing experience with Bayshore, buying my first Jeep. From the initial phone call after browsing their website, to easy price negotiation and fast paperwork, I was able to locate the exact unit I wanted, customized and built with everything I could get inside our budget. Signing the paperwork took literally 10 minutes! Never had such a great experience!!” - David H.

611 S Alexander St. | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 241-4000 | Mon- Fri 9AM to 6PM | Sat 10AM to 2PM | Sunday Closed








Strawberry festival See you there!







Knotts By Katie Hamilton Jackson Knotts is the absolute representation of a Plant City High School all-American senior. Knotts has been well-known throughout Plant City ever since he was a child, and now as a senior, he is incredibly involved in events and sports throughout the Plant City area. Jackson is continually active in the athletic community from varsity football to track and field. Knotts has been a varsity football player since he was a freshman in high school and has been participating in javelin since his junior year. As such, Jackson has aspirations to play football for a Division I school after he graduates from high school. While he is passionate about his future, he states that leaving PCHS will be tough, "The thing that I will miss most about high school is the people. I have made some of the best friends during my years here." Jackson's success is coached by Coach Brubaker for track and field, which is currently in season, and Coach Booth for football. Knotts appreciates both of his coaches' styles for team success from making gains at their practices to their personable, encouraging attitudes; any athlete can excel in their supportive athletic environment. Jackson displays the utmost respect for the athletic department at Plant City High School stating, "We are one of the most competitive high schools in the state of Florida, and it will stay that way for years to come." Knotts continues to demonstrate many characteristics of a promising and good sportsmanlike athlete with a bright future on and off the field. This is evidenced by his mention of his greatest supporters, "My parents, they have been there every step of the way throughout my high school journey, and they plan to be at every single college game I play. They are the reason I have been successful in the sports I play. I am so thankful to have them in my life." With great supporters like his parents, coaches, and friends, Jackson has taken the mature approach to his career in athletics explaining, "Having fun is vital. I like to be serious with my sports, but having fun is the most important part of my game."



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Team of the Month

JV Pilots, Dolphins face off in ‘Super Bowl’ By Katie Hamilton


n January 23, the Pinecrest Pilots and the Plant City Dolphins went head-tohead at the annual TCYFCC Super Bowl at Sumter High School in Riverview. While the Junior Varsity Pilots took the win, the Junior Varsity Dolphins put on an amazing game, coming up one point short in overtime. The 3:00 p.m. game started with a coin toss between the two teams. And within a few minutes, the Dolphins number 7 scored the first touchdown and so began the great game many parents and supporters witnessed. Both teams had cheerleaders on the sidelines performing stunts, team-inspired cheers, and overall, just hyping everyone up. The game was a back-andforth match of scoring. Gianne Flore, the starting JV quarterback for the Pilots, has been playing football since he was five-years-old, and he has made many improvements since then. Flore trains Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for about two hours, and on Wednesday, he practices with Joe from Southeast Elite to further improve his skills on the field.



Flore claims that his favorite part of the entire season is winning the Super Bowl explaining, “It felt like all the demanding work I have been putting in since July had finally paid off for me and my team.” Many of the boys look to their parents for support, but when that may not be possible, the team moms are always there. Melanie Staples is the team mom for the JV Pilots. During the game, she was on the field shouting to the team and watching as the boys fought for the title of Super Bowl champions. Staples said, “I supply the parents with the organization of the game, offer the players a word of encouragement, take pictures, and always have cupcakes or cookies ready even if they win or lose.” Motivating herds of pre-teen boys can be difficult, and the work put into having a successful team can be tiring. With everything behind the scenes and on the field, the coaches are constantly working on keeping the team going and focused on their plays.

Dolphin Lomont Owens stated, “My responsibilities on the field are to protect my quarterback and make tackles as I also support my team.” Boys on both teams tackled, rolled, and jumped throughout the field while many parents and family members roared in the stands. The Dolphins’ Gianni Valeriani helped clarify how it feels to have made it this far in the football season. Valeriani explained that he was extremely nervous before the game started, but as the Dolphins reached their scoring streak, he felt great. As time passed in the final quarter, the teams finished with a tie, pushing the game into overtime. The golden sun peaked through the stands shining onto the field, The Pilots scored both the goal and the extra point, crowning the Pinecrest as the winner 34-33 against the Plant City Dolphins.









Plant City




Meet the


Folk Artist, Ruby Williams By Heather Davis Photos by Wyatt Davis


ne of the biggest joys and challenges in life is to take what is seemingly ordinary and make it into the extraordinary. Such is the life of Ruby Williams, or Miss Ruby as she is known. Ruby's life began quite simply sometime in the 1920's in the town of Bealsville, a community formed by freed slaves in the 1860's. She is secretive of her exact age, but the twinkle in her eye and wide grin reveals the youthful vigor that once was and still remains. Although born into a simple life, Ruby's life has belied this by some extraordinary circumstances. Raised in the rural farm lands and strawberry fields just outside of Plant City, Ruby was called to a life of ministry. She spent twenty five years in New Jersey working as an evangelical minister whose mission was to help underprivileged children find their way. In the 1980's Ruby returned to her home in Bealsville to farm her family's land and run Ruby's Produce Stand on State Road 60. It was during this time that Ruby began painting bright, colorful, and vibrant signs to attract people to her produce stand. Her artwork caught the eye of a passer-by, folk artist Rodney Hardee, who encouraged her in her art along with others who began to take notice. This quiet endeavor by a slight woman who lived a simple life led to her art work being featured in classrooms, galleries and museums. Then something truly amazing happened. In 2005, Ruby was honored with the Florida Folk Life Award which resulted in her being included in the show "On Their Own - Selected Self Taught Artists" at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum in Washington D.C. Ruby also recently illustrated a children's book titled, I Am Ruby. To this day you can still find Ruby at her stand on State Road 60 surrounded by artwork in her humble surroundings. She will readily tell you what she has planted on her farm that day and if you are lucky she may share with you a few of her paintings, a huge grin and even a song from her piano. "I do everything from the bottom of my heart, whether shelling a bucket of beans or making a painting." Her brightly colored paintings speak this message loud and clear and has turned a humble life of service to others into an extraordinary one.

Bufflo Cow Girl is one of Mrs. Ruby’s most well known paintings. PAGE


Ruby C. Williams made an appearance at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Alabama in 2017. Artist Angie Klein and Ruby Williams showcase Ruby’s art together.

Mrs. Ruby’s work depicts produce and farm animals, inspired by her family farm.





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611 S Alexander st. Plant City FL 33563 M-F 9-6 | Sat 10-2







Leaders in


Mrs. Nicole L. Williams, Ed. S., M.A. Inspire. Teach. Minister By Cheryl Johnston


s a mother and teacher/administrator for years in charter and public schools, Nicole Williams realized the system wasn’t working for some students. “In those times, I saw the need for a school that would not only teach but inspire and minister to the children’s needs while offering a relationship with Christ,” she explained. “And I wanted to be a part of offering an alternative school choice option. Her response was to establish Faith Christian Academy, an intentionally Christian private school serving students in grades K-12. Nicole and her husband, Pastor Raymond Williams, consider it a privilege to inspire, teach, and minister. Knowing the critical roles that education and faith play in raising up the next generation, the parents of four children (Nia, Nylah, Naomi, and Neriah) moved here from Brandon in 2013 after establishing the Plant City UPC in 2011. “It’s a great reward to see us work together to build for the kingdom of God,” Nicole shared, “and to watch our city receive more of God.” Tell us about your school’s special appeal. “FCA is a place to be you. We truly believe in helping children find their best qualities and cultivating them. We treasure helping and being an asset to our families. We specialize in extra support and care for our students. Offering afterschool help, small classes, in class help, credit recovery, graduation placement, and more gives us the appeal our city needs.” What do you enjoy most about your work? “Watching children come to the Lord and seeing those who think they can’t achieve make great strides in education.” How does FCA share the Gospel with children? “We offer chapel services here on Wednesdays. Our teachers share the Gospel and we always invite the children to change their lives. As a pastor’s wife, I also have the opportunity to do this at my church in the children’s ministry. I love watching a child become a disciple of Christ, get baptized and receive His spirit!



Tell us how you discovered Christ for yourself? “I came to know Jesus at a church in Tampa. It was the best experience of my life. I was filled with the Holy Spirit over 24 years ago and love my life with Jesus.” Today my favorite scripture is Psalms 91:1 because I truly believe if we live our lives in the presence of Jesus, He will keep us and protect us from all harm.” Along with completing your doctorate degree and enjoying spare time reading, decorating, family nights, and vacations (especially to church conferences), what else do you love about life in Plant City? “I love the variety of life. There are so many opportunities for us to work together and grow our city. We have really seen change in the last few years with new businesses and I love networking with others to help small businesses grow here.” And obviously, education is a key to success. Mrs. Williams encourages parents to visit online at or in person at Faith Christian Academy to learn more about the school’s unique approach. “We desire to see your child be the best s/he can be,” she said. “We will work with families that need support financially, physically or emotionally. We accept scholarships and have in-school financial aid. We want you to be a part of the FCA Falcon family!


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1/15/2020 8:15:25 AM























Candy’s Corner By Candy Owens


ake a wish and give it wings. Dreams of bright and beautiful things. Dance through all the fun filled hours. Don't forget to smell the flowers. Share some love and birthday cake. All life's joys are yours to take. February has always been a month of many happy memories for me. There's Valentine's Day, my two childhood girlfriends Cindy Jeffries and JeanAnn Weaver's birthdays, and the highlight of the sister Karen's birthday. I think that as a child I was more excited for my sister's birthday than she was. You see...Karen is almost three years older than I am and that meant that all of her girlfriends were almost three years older, so any time she had a party, Birthday or Slumber, our house looked something like an episode of the Brady Bunch. (Marsha Brady and all of her cool friends). February of 1971 was a time when all the world was right with me. I was 8 years old and my sister Karen was turning 11. President Richard Nixon was in the White House, Apollo 14 had landed on the moon, gas was 40 cents a gallon, a movie ticket was $1.50, a brand new Dodge Charger was $3500.00, Jiffy Peanut Butter was 59 cents, a postage stamp was 8 cents, a Malibu Barbie was $1.94, and Walt Disney World had just opened. Raquel Welch and Pam Greer were the TV and Movie "Hotties". Miss America was Phyllis George. The most popular TV shows were: All in the Family, The Flip Wilson Show, Sanford and Son, Mannix, Adam 12, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Here's Lucy. The top Billboard songs were: Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando and Dawn, One Bad Apple by the Osmond Brothers, Joy to the World by Three Dog Night, Shaft by Isaac Hayes, and Brand New Key by Melanie. Popular Tv shows for kids were: The Electric Company, Scooby-Doo, Nanny and the Professor, Josie and the Pussycats, Lidsville, The Bugaloos, H,R. Puffinstuff, Land of the Lost, The Hudson Brothers Razzel Dazzel Hour, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, and The Jackson Five Cartoons. Candy was a penny a piece, candy bars were a dime, a comic book was 25 cents, a cheeseburger at McDonald's was 30 cents, and a brand new record album was $5.00. With all that going on in the world, what was there for an 8 year old girl with an 11 year old sister to ever be unhappy about? My sister's 11th birthday party was going to be extra special, because that was the year that



she wanted everyone to know that she was getting older (HA!HA!) and she did not want anything at her party to be juvenile!!! Everything from the cake, to the games, and decorations, everything had to be more mature. HA!HA! Well...there went my visions of Hide and Seek and Duck Duck Goose! My Mother made sure that everything was just what my sister had requested for her party. Her cake came from Publix's Danish Bakery at the Plant City Mall and was decorated by Mrs. Martha Duke who was a very talented decorator with Publix for many years. Mrs. Duke made a cake that looked like a big bed and was decorated with a teenage girl lying at the foot listening to little plastic record player with little plastic records scattered about the bed. She even put a little stuffed Poodle on the cake. WOW!, talk about a grown-up cake. My sister's party was going to be GROOVY!!! The day of the party my sister informed me that since she was allowing me to attend her party that I better not say or do anything to embarrass her. Well, with that being said, I was all dressed up in my new Hang Ten mini skirt and shirt along with my shinny red Go-Go boots. My parents set up our dinning room with plates, cups, napkins, balloons, streamers, and her birthday cake, along with a gift table, and a record player so all the girls could play records and dance if they wanted. Outside, my Father set up his trusty charcoal grill along with a stack of metal coat hangers for roasting hotdogs. There was also a picnic table set up with all the fixins for hotdogs, marshmallows, Ruffles Potato Chips, Onion Dip in the metal can, and Coke-a-Cola's in the little bottles. (What a feast!) Our back yard was set up with croquet, badminton, and a game that my Dad made up, where he sat two chairs side-by-side with a box of Bazooka Bubble Gum and a pair of Extra-Large Winter Gloves in each chair. He had all the girls divide up in two lines/or teams about ten feet from the chairs and with an "On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!" The girls first in line would run to their chair, put on the gloves, unwrap a piece of Bazooka, and blow a bubble. Once that was done, then the girl would put her gloves back in the chair and race back to her team and tap the next girl in line to take off. The winner's would receive a box of Bazooka. Our drive-way was set up with a PingPong table and our Hippity Hops. How exciting! We were ready! When our doorbell started ringing a few


minutes before 4 p.m., my sister allowed me to open the door for her guests. In came giggling girls wearing bell bottom pants, Hang-Ten or Grubb shirts, cool party dresses, Go-Go boots, crocheted ponchos, and pony tails tied with yarn ribbons. How cool was that?, Our house was filled with poncho wearing, sour green apple bubble gum chewing, Donny Osmond crazy, almost teenage girls. Some of the girls that came to the party were: Leigh and Lynne Wester, Linda Camp, Sally Shearin, Kathy Howell, Kayla Buser, Hettie Lee Herrington, Teresa Sapp, Cheryl Boles, Vicky Bassett, Carolyn Andreau, and Patti Britt. I remember some of the gifts that Karen got which were Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, and Bobby Sherman Posters, candy, perfume, pajamas, a funky purple lamp, a Jackson-Five album, and the Mystery Date board game, OH! and there were cards with money. The girls just ewwwed and ahhhhed as she opened her gifts. Well, I guess it's time to wake up from that FIFTY-ONE- year old sweet memory. This month my sister Karen will turn 61 years old. How can that be? The years have just flown by. I have been the luckiest girl to have had such a wonderful sister, remember how she let me open the door? HA!HA! Happy Birthday Sister! and here is to 61 more!!!! And P.S. Most of the girls that came to the party back in 1971 are now Grand Mothers! I guess that is okay considering that Donny Osmond and Bobby Sherman are Grand Fathers! HAHA!



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Enjoy L Strawberry All Things


ooking for something sweet to satisfy that sweet tooth? This month, we dine on all things Florida strawberries! From strawberry milkshakes to chocolate-dipped strawberries to even strawberry pizzas and wines, this deliciously sweet fruit can be consumed in so many ways. Show these local businesses your patronage this strawberry season.

Olde Town Pizzeria & Pasta Co. 3011 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 752-5800 Sun-Thurs 11 AM to 9:30 PM Strawberry Walnut Salad: Regular, $8; Large, $11

Berry Barn 3931 FL-60, Dover, FL 33527 (813) 643-1040 Monday- Closed Tuesday- Sunday 10 AM to 5:30 PM

Brick House Cafe 206 S Evers St, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-8546 Strawberry Cake: Whole, $40; By the Slice, $3.99 PAGE


Strawberry Milkshake: Small $2.25, Medium $3.35 Strawberry Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust: Whole $22, Slice $3.50 Strawberry Pizza with Pecan Crust: Whole $ 24, Slice $3.75 Strawberry Shortcake with Ice Cream $5 Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream $5 Strawberry Shortcake with Ice Cream & Whipped Cream is $5

Keel Farms 5202 Thonotosassa Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 (813) 752-9100 Mon- Thurs 11 AM to 9 PM Fri- Sat 11 AM to 11 PM Sun 11 AM to 7 PM

Tani’s for Dessert

Strawberry Riesling $15 Strawberry Lime Cide: $6 a glass or $10.99 for a 6 pack Limited Edition Strawberry Shortcake Cider: $6 a glass or $10.99 for a 6 pack Limited Edition Strawberry Cultiver Milkshake IPA: $6 a glass or $10.99 for a 6 pack

(813) 704-5947 Facebook: @tanisfordessert

Large Chocolate Covered Strawberries: $2.50 each

The Mad Batter Bakeshop (813) 375-1975 Facebook: @themadbatterbakeshop

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: $1.25 each Strawberry Sugar Cookies: Small, $2; Large $3 Strawberry Cake Pops: $2.50 each Strawberry Cupcakes: $2.00 each

Fancy Farms Parkesdale Market Farm Market

5204 Drainfield Road, Lakeland, FL 33811 (813) 754-4852 Monday- Saturday 9 AM to 6 PM Sunday- Closed

Strawberry Milkshakes: $5 Strawberry Shortcakes with whipped cream: $5 Strawberry Shortcake with ice cream: $6 Strawberry Bread: 2 for $5 Strawberry Cookies: $6

3702 W Baker St, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2704 Open Daily 9 AM to 6 PM Strawberry Shortcake: $4.50 Sundae Boat - ice cream, berries, non-dairy topping: $4.50 Strawberry Milkshake: $2.75 Strawberry Cookies: $4 Strawberry Bread: $5 Strawberry Preserves: $4 Strawberry Salsa: $5.50 PAGE




Defining the future of healthcare. So much of the world has changed over the past eight decades, but our mission has not. The Watson Clinic legacy continues to be defined by our commitment to you and your family, investing in the technologies and advanced treatments that can improve lives, and setting the standard for an all-inclusive healthcare experience.

We may be turning 80 this year, but we’re just getting started.

For all your healthcare needs, call 863-680-7000 or visit

GEN4853-FocusFullPage80Anniv.indd 1

2/16/21 3:53 PM PAGE



Yoga in the Garden 8:30AM-9:30AM All Levels Welcome | Bring Water & a Mat Plant City Commons Community Garden @ 2001 E. Cherry St Cost: Free ($10 Donation Suggested) Info: 813-435-8111

Plant City


Comedy Night with Leslie Norris Townsend



Focus Magazine Anniversary Party 5:30PM-10:00PM Reader’s Choice Awards | Food & Drinks Live Music Keel & Curley Winery @ 5202 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: Free Info: Focus Magazine @ 813-707-8783

7:00PM-8:33PM Clean Comedy | Food & Drinks Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J Arden Mays Blvd Cost: $10 Info: 813-752-1220


9:00AM-10:00AM Liability Waiver Required for all Participants 18+ | Bring a Mat| Social Distancing Enforced Plant City YMCA @ 1507 YMCA Pl Cost: Free Info: 813-757-6677

Huge Tack Sale 9:00AM-2:00PM Saddles, Reins & More | Cash & Credit Cards Accepted | All Items Sold ‘As Is’ RVR Horse Rescue @ 1710 W. State Rd 60 Cost: Free Parking & Admission Info: 813-833-6426

Paint & Dip 7:00PM-9:00PM Learn to Paint | Kid-Friendly Chips & Dips Provided The Industry @ 119 S. Collins St Cost: $20 Info: 813-756-6955




3:00PM-6:30PM Classic Cars & Trucks | Food | Vendors Downtown Plant City @ 102 N. Palmer St Cost: Free & Free Car Registration Info: 813-754-3707

04 - 14 Florida Strawberry Festival

Community Pilates Class


1st Annual Strawberry Classic Truck & Jeep Show 7:00PM-10:00PM Trucks, Jeeps & Classic Cars Food Trucks Plant City Church of God @ 2103 Mud Lake Rd Cost: Free Info: 813-752-4591

Last Friday in Downtown 5:00PM-9:00PM Live Music | Market Vendors Family & Pet Friendly McCall Park @ 100 N. Collins St Cost: Free Info: 813-764-9516

Open Mic Night 7:00PM-8:30PM Sing & Dance | Stand-Up |Perform | Family-Friendly Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J Arden Mays Blvd Cost: Free Info: 813-752-1220

Strawberry U-Pick

Strawberry Classic Cruise-In



10:00AM-10:00PM Daily Rides & Attractions | Food & Drinks Live Shows | Shopping 303 BerryFest Pl Cost: Adult Admission- $10 | Children 6-12- $5 | Children 5 & Under- Free Parking-Varies Info: 813-752-9194


Family Movie Night! The Hunchback of Notre Dame 6:30PM-8:00PM Popcorn Provided | Bring a Lawn Chair or Blanket | Plenty of Space to Socially Distance Plant City YMCA @ 1507 YMCA Pl Cost: Free Info: 813-757-6677

Every Saturday until the End of March (Dependent on Strawberry Availability) 10:00AM-1:00PM Organically Grown Strawberries | Sanitized Buckets Provided | Bring a Container to take Berries Home Keel & Curley Winery @ 5202 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: $5 per Pound Info: 813-752-9100



Come Find the Best Strawberry Festival Shirts and Souvenirs in Booth #5 of the Main Exhibit Building! New Location! 712 E. Alsobrook St. #9 Plant City, FL 33563 1 block east of Collins


Happy New Year!

GROOMING REWARDS! 5 grooms and get the 6th one FREE!

We offer pet boarding in a state of the art facility with television for the pets to watch. We are located on 5 acres of land.

Call For Pricing on Boarding Or Grooming.


1821 Stephens Ln, Dover, FL 33527 Phone: (813) 689-6725 | PAGE




813-299-7155 PAGE



Easter with Us!

Four Identical Easter Services: FRIDAY APRIL 2 | 7 PM Mask ONLY Service CHILDCARE: Birth - 4 years


this Easter! Join us for our Palm Sunday services

APRIL 3 | 5 PM CHILDCARE: Birth - 4 years

Easter services April 2nd through 4th. You will experience uplifting music, powerful prayer, and a relevant message of truth from God’s Word. Sundays we also offer Bible-centered small groups for all ages. Come and experience the abundant life that Jesus has for those who follow Him! Can’t join us in person? Watch ONLINE at:

3309 James L. Redman Pkwy., Plant City 813.752.4104 | Dr. Brian Stowe, Senior Pastor


March 28 | 9 & 10:30 AM Celebrate the Lord’s Supper

Bring your family to be a part of our family on March 28th and at one of our four identical


Palm Sunday Service:

SUNDAY APRIL 4 | 9 AM & 10:30 AM



a Gallery of Plant City

2021 Chamber Gala On January 28, the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held their annual Passing of the Gavel and Best of Plant City Awards. Mike Ardnt of Minuteman Press was named 2021 Chairman of the Board. The Chamber also recognized small businesses throughout our community by presenting the Best of Plant City Awards. This gallery contains just a few of the winners. To see more photos from this event, visit our Facebook page @focusmagazine. Photography sponsored by Hungry Howie’s Plant City • Best Community Event Award: United Food Bank’s Empty Bowls

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• Customer Service Award: The Corner Store • Non-Profit Award: Bikes for Christ • Economic Development Award: Jesse Carr • New Business Award: Second Plate Catering • Small Business Award: Plant City Observer • Business of the Year Award: Patterson Companies • Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Aaron Davis, Hillsborough Title • Rising Leader Award: Kayla Drawdy • Health & Wellness Award: Chris Welcome Karate Club • Community Service Award: Stingray Chevrolet • The Spirit of the Chamber Award: Ross Spano & Rick Lott • Employer of the year Award: Jarrett-Scott Ford • Downtown Enrichment Award: Krazy Kup

a. 2021 Chairman of the Board Mike Arndt receiving the gavel from 2020 Chairman of the Board Courtney Paat. b. Chris Welbon Karate Club won the Health & Wellness Award. c. U.S. Rep. Ross Spano performed the National Anthem in the opening of the Gala. He was later presented with the Spirit of the Chamber award, as was Plant City Mayor Rick Lott. d. Kayla Drawdy was presented with the Rising Leader of Plant City award. e. Clay Keel and Arley Smude were among the attendees, showcasing their best Western Glam attire. PAGE




Gallery of Plant City


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i f. The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Board of Directors.. g. Jarrett-Scott Ford was named Employer of the Year. h. Krazy Kup received the Downtown Enrichment Award. i. Second Plate Catering won the New Business Award. j. The United Food Bank’s Empty Bowl Project won best community award. PAGE


a Gallery of Plant City

2021 ChiliFest On January 30, 24 registered teams competed in the 2021 Plant City ChiliFest Cook Off. The event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Arts Council of Plant City, allowing them to provide scholarships for High School Seniors. Congratulations to the winners of the Arts Council of Plant City’s 2021 ChiliFest:


Mild: 1st Holloway Heat; 2nd Brick City Bricks Novelty: 1st Lawrence Valdez; 2nd Brent's BBQ Spicy: 1st Holloway Heat; 2nd Scooby's Outdoor Adventures


People's Choice: Brick City Bricks Photography sponsored by Hungry Howie’s Plant City


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g a. Culligan Water entered a Mild chili into the competition. Attendees said it was chunky and full of flavor. b. First time ChiliFest competitors Umami Smoke presented a “Dragon’s Breath” chili for the Spicy category. c. Dancers from Drawdy’s Dance School showcased their skills with group, duets and solo routines. d. Brick City Bricks team Jordan and Greg Williams received 2nd place Mild Category for their Coney Island chili and winners of the People’s Choice. e. Arts Council of Plant City President Marsha Passmore thanked the competitors and attendees for supporting the nonprofit. The annual ChiliFest celebrates the culinary arts while raising money for scholarships for High School seniors. f. Chris Welbon Karate Club demonstrated their skills by breaking boards with kicks and strikes. g. Scooby’s Outdoor Adventures were also first time competitors to the ChiliFest, presenting a chili for the Mild, Spicy and Novelty categories. Scooby’s won 2nd Place in the Spicy category. PAGE






Gallery of Plant City

2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Pageant On January 23, 29 young ladies competed for the title of 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen. The competition consists of an Interview, Public Speaking Competition, Casual Wear Competition, and Formal Wear Competition. The Top 10 were then selected and answered an Impromptu On-Stage Question. In the end, judges selected McKenna Jordan as the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen.

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a. Contestant 17 McKenna Jordan was named the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen at the January 23 pageant. Jordan is a student at Strawberry Crest High School and dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. She is the daughter of Chad and Calley Jordan and Tiffani and Jay Mercado. She is the member of the senior class executive board and National Honor Society. she plants to attend University of Central Florida to pursue a nursing degree. Photo by Deanna Hurley Photography/Official Photo of the Florida Strawberry Festival b. Kalei Paat chose a strapless lavender gown with blush embroidered birds and a train for the Formal Wear Competition. Paat was selected into the Top 10 contestants. c. Sailor Ullrich, sponsored by Fred’s Market/Johnson’s Barbeque, made an impressive interest in an aqua pant suit for the Public Speaking competition. Sailor spoke about the restaurant’s long history and commitment to serving slow Southern cooking. d. During the Casual Wear Competition, the contestants were tasked with not only showcasing their outfit, but also showcasing their personality. Contestant 16 Naomi Donnell choice a long line white top, jeans, and accessorized with a rhinestone belt and rhinestone butterfly earrings. e. 2021 Queen McKenna Jordan is joined by First Maid Avery Surrency (second from the left) and Court Members Kate Turner (far left), KellieAnne Kirkland (second from the right) and Brynne Murphy (far right). Jordan said she is looking forward to making four new forever friends through their reign. f. The Top 5 contestants joined hands before the title winner was announced. The Top 5 comprised (L to R): Kate Turner, KellieAnne Kirkland, Avery Surrency, McKenna Jordan, and Brynne Murphy. PAGE







SPECIALIZING IN YOUR MEMORIES 102 South Evers St, Downtown Plant City | 813.473.2142

*Photos taken at Fancy Farms Market PAGE






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

Thank You Neighbors!

When buying, selling, building, or refinancing – ALWAYS request Hillsborough Title to close.

We offer: Multiple Locations Statewide In-House Real Estate Attorneys Dedicated IT Staff Protecting Our Buyers & Sellers Exceptional Service with Personal and Professional Care

Contact Hillsborough Title 813.754.4440






Open Daily for Tastings + Dining at 11am Join us for Live Music + Tours Every Weekend

5202 Thonotosassa Road Plant City, FL 33565 813-752-9100 |

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