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Florida Strawberry Festival

by Meghann on March 14, 2010

Good evening ladies and gents!

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA all day, but this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down. It was another BEAUTIFUL day today and I was determined to spend as much of outside as I could. πŸ˜‰

The morning started early, well it would have been early yesterday, today I guess we can consider it sleeping in. My alarm went off at 7:15, but it felt like 6:15. πŸ™ Booo.. losing an hour of sleep!

Begrudgingly we awoke from our slumbers and I had 1/2 a bagel with almond butter and chocolate chips before my run.


Last night Derek offered to join me on my run this morning and I welcomed the company. He rollerbladed while I ran and together we completed the 10 miles like it ain’t no thing. πŸ˜‰ It was reassuring to have Derek by my side and company always make the miles fly by on long runs.

After the run I had exactly one hour to shower, pack, dress, and eat a quickie breakfast before heading out the door. Luckily Derek and I were able to divide and conquer. While I was in the shower he got to work on the eggs.


And after the shower I assembled a yogurt bowl with orange, cereal, and chocolate goldfish to complete my plate.


Yummy πŸ™‚


Where were we off to in such a rush? Well, let me tell you…

The Florida Strawberry Festival!!


Every year Plant City – located just outside of Tampa – has a month long festival that revolves around the start of strawberry picking season. Plant City is known for they’re fabulous strawberries and they’re proud of it!


I’ve never been to the strawberry festival, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I did know, however; that I wanted strawberry shortcake! Derek and I bee-lined it to the ‘Build Your Own Strawberry Shortcake’ bar as soon as we arrived.


There was a line that wrapped around the booth!




You start with a choice of pound cake and a biscuit. (I chose the pound cake)



Next, you pile on the strawberries


And a healthy serving of whipped cream.


Last, but not least, they top it off with a simple strawberry for decoration.


Nom Nom Nom


You can’t tell in the photo, but Derek’s bowl was OVERFLOWING. He was determined to get his $3.50 worth of strawberry shortcake! πŸ™‚


I had been warned ahead of time that the vendors at the festival offered just about every deep fried item you could imagine, they weren’t kidding!




Look, I found veggies!


Can’t forget the chocolate dip’t bacon!


I saved the best for last!


In case you can’t read the tiny sign below, it’s cinnamon flavored deep fried butter! I’ll take two deep fried Pepsis, two deep fried butters, and a heart attack to go please! Thanks!

I was expecting all the deep fried food and all the pop-up food booths, but I was also hoping for some local Mom & Pop vendors as well. I was wrong. πŸ™ The only local food options involved strawberries and dessert items. I was craving actual food for lunch and not just dessert items, but my choices were limited.

After Derek and I looped the festival and surveyed our options, we both decided that Gyros would be the best we could do.


I ordered the chicken gyro, which actually wasn’t that bad.




Does anyone else get sick just watching rides twist and turn?


This however looked like something I would do!



Today’s trip to the Strawberry Festival wasn’t just about strawberries, fried food, and people watching, we had a hidden agenda as well. πŸ˜‰



Sara Evans!!!


Each year the Strawberry Festival draws in a few big name performers and this year it worked out that Derek and I could see Sara Evans perform.


I LOVE Sara Evans! Her music is fun, up beat, and she is an amazing performer as well. It was a great concert to end the weekend with.


During the concert Derek and I split some chocolate covered strawberries and I reached my officially sugar overload limit for the day. πŸ˜‰



The street on the way back to the car was lined with vendors selling fresh, local strawberries that we calling my name.



I took home half a flat of strawberries for $6!!


I plan to put half in the fridge to eat during the week and the other half for future smoothies and other treats.


When I finally made it home, I was seriously craving fresh VEGGIES for dinner!


I made a platter plate of snap peas, zucchini…


… peanut butter pretzels, jalapeno cheese…


… yellow squash, carrots…


…and a big dollop of hummus to dip it all in.


I enjoyed the stacks of zucchini, hummus, and cheese. πŸ™‚


It has been a long day and my bed is calling my name.

Good night!!!

1 Evan Thomas March 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Oh dear lord–they’d deep fry anything! But you totally have me excited for strawberry season πŸ™‚

2 Kara (@ Kara's Marathon) March 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Ugh…I can feel my arteries closing just thinking about deep-fried butter!

The strawberries look unbelievable, though — and love your festive dress! I’m also incredibly jealous of your glorious weather…it’s been cold and rainy and windy all weekend πŸ™

3 caronae March 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Who knew you could deep fry pepsi or butter or strawberries? Although I won’t lie, thew chocolate dipt bacon sounds a little tasty…
I can’t wait until summer when berries are in season in the North. Mmmmm!

4 Dori March 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Such a fun day! Love all your food. Deep fried COOKIE DOUGH?! That is what I would have gotten!

5 megzzwinsatlife March 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

six dollars for all that strawberries!! I pay $5.99 for a small carton in the city !!! ahh I wish you could ship them too me!!! I want to move to FL you have so much more options for fresh produce!

6 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) March 14, 2010 at 9:39 pm

One of my sorority’s symbols is the strawberry–we had a strawberry festival for recruitment! I totally didn’t know there was such thing! I LUUURVE strawberries. I could eat ’em all day long. What a fabulous day to enjoy outside too. Pretty dress.

7 Allison March 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm

How do you deep fry pepsi? It’s a liquid!

8 Kayla March 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I think I just felt my arteries clog at the thought of deep fried butter. But I’m totally jealous of those strawberries – yum! Can’t wait to see what all they pop up in!

9 Matt March 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Sounds like a great day! I love strawberries!

10 theprocessofhealing March 14, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Wow girl, sounds like a fantastic day!!!! SO jealous of the strawberries, I can’t wait for ours to come in in SC!! And half a flat for that price is cheap!!!
I totally have the biggest craving for strawberry shortcake now..

11 inmytummy March 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Deep Fried Pepsi??

Looks like a fun day. And I am totally jealous that you are wearing a strapless dress. I need summer to come to GA too.

12 musingsofthegranolagirl March 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm

oh my- that strawberry festival looks amazing! I love strawberries and warm weather, maybe I should consider Florida schools for grad school!

13 Lo-Jo March 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Yum. Ah, to have good fresh strawberries at your fingertips would be amazing. I’d eat that entire 1/2 flat in 3 days easily.

14 Dori March 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm

You should have special requested deep fried kok.

15 Liz March 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Great deal on the strawberries!
I love the dress you were wearing today, where is it from?

16 peachesnkate March 14, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Deep Fried Butter? Deep Fried Pepsi? How in the world do you deep fry those things? Summerfest in Wisconsin is all about the deep frying foods. Thankgoodness for those yummy strawberries!

17 simplyshaka March 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

I don’t care what anyone says, Publix makes the best subs!! I will take them over any other sub place any day of the wk.

Fair food is the best-especially gyros-yum!!

18 Jenn (eating bender) March 14, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Ok, wow! This looks like a little piece of heaven πŸ™‚ Strawberry shortcake is my absolute favorite dessert!

So glad that you and Derek had a nice time. I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I saw the strawberry on the “chocolate dip’t bacon” sign with the pig. It’s the same one I use in my header — it’s hilarious to see where a “stock” image will travel…from Chicago all the way down to Florida πŸ˜‰ I kind of love that sign!

19 tramey1 March 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I’m not gonna lie….some of that deep fried goodness did make me a bit hangry. Deep fried butter though?!?! What’s next, deep fried lard?!?!

Was the veggie “plate” fried as well?!?! πŸ˜‰

20 Tay March 14, 2010 at 10:34 pm

OMG deep fried twinkies and oreos are bad enough, but deep fried PEPSI? BUTTER? Grosssss. How on earth do they deep fry pepsi – I’m actually quite curious!!

21 amanda March 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Aww, Sara Evans! I used to love her!

I see deep fried Pepsi every year at Mardi Gras and I always want to order it just to see what it is. So strange.

22 Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now March 14, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Deep fried Pepsi? Is that a joke?!

23 Beth @ fatbustermack March 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm

One of the perks in my old office was a make your own strawberry shortcake bar once a year. Boy do I miss that!

24 Emilyeatsclean March 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Ohhh gag on all the deep fried stuff……it makes me sick just thinkin’ about it!!! I can’t believe you got ALL those strawbarries for 6 bucks…..what a great deal!! Reading this post makes me sooooo excited about the Farmer’s Market and fresh strawberries here in TN!!!! Cute dress, p.s.! πŸ™‚


25 Al Berry March 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm

The Florida Strawberry festival is one of the top 25 fairs in the nation. Started by the Plant City Lions Club in 1930. Took five years off during World War II, and this year celebrated its 75th Anniversary. In opinion, it’s an event that offers more bank for you buck!

26 Ariffa March 14, 2010 at 11:03 pm

what a fun day!! I love your dress by the way

27 Angelalovesfood March 14, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Oprah tried the deep fried butter and said it was amazing! I bet. If I didn’t care about my health, I would LOVE to get a deep-fried snickers bar. mmmmm

What a fun day captured through photos. AND I LOVE YOUR DRESS! it’s sooo pretty and SO Spring.

28 rollerkoesterrun March 14, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Love your cute little sundress! Nothing reminds me of FL more!


29 Amanda March 14, 2010 at 11:26 pm

It looks like you had the most amazing day! So jealous that 1) you are wearing a DRESS and 2) you scored all those strawberries!! Can’t wait to see what you create with them this week!

30 Lisa (bakebikeblog) March 15, 2010 at 12:00 am

Wow what a day! I cannot believe all that deep fried food – its insane! I think I would have been a little overwhelemed by it all!.
LOVE those strawberries though!

31 Heather March 15, 2010 at 12:05 am

GAH! be still my heart…i’d love to have a strawberry festival nearby! what a fun day…full of color! bet y’all had a great weekend together πŸ™‚

32 Katie Davis @ Pop Culture Cuisine March 15, 2010 at 12:09 am

I just wanted to write a quick thank you note saying that your blog has totally motivated me to get back into running. So much so that I ran my first half marathon today and had a blast. I totally went above and beyond what I expected and managed to come in at 2:02:45…thanks for all the support, even though you don’t even know it!

33 Jenny March 15, 2010 at 12:12 am

That is such a pretty dress!

And way to indulge – everything looked great!

You left me wondering- how does one deep-fry a Pepsi?

34 Run Sarah March 15, 2010 at 12:39 am

All that deep fried food is funny- Pepsi?! Seriously?! The strawberry shortcake looks delish though!

35 TorontoGirloutWest March 15, 2010 at 12:41 am

The thought of deep fried chocolate dipped bacon made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Seriously. I’m horrified and disgusted. Kind of feel sick to my tummy! πŸ™

36 Ashley March 15, 2010 at 12:57 am

Omgosh I would have died and went to heaven for a flat of strawberries like that! They look so fresh and yummy.

Glad you had a nice day!

37 britchickruns March 15, 2010 at 2:56 am

Oh how I adore PB pretzels and strawberries!That looks like SUCH a fun day out!! Wow lucky you πŸ˜€ Florida looks like such a great place to live, I really want to go on holiday there πŸ™‚ Glad you had fun!

38 healthyappletite March 15, 2010 at 5:35 am

it looks like such a fun day!! lots of food and lots to see πŸ™‚ my kind of day! xx

39 Alison March 15, 2010 at 7:25 am

Yum, I love strawberry season.
I didn’t know you could deep fry Pepsi, but for some reason I’m intrigued by the deep fried Twinkie. I think that would be a once in a lifetime kind of snack.

40 Laura March 15, 2010 at 7:29 am

This post makes me want to move to Florida, it looks so sunny!!

41 Bria March 15, 2010 at 7:54 am

WOW! I have NEVER seen so many deep fried foods adverts in all my life! My nutrition profs from undergrad would DIE!!! hahaha

42 NYCRunnerGirl March 15, 2010 at 7:57 am

What a fun day! I love strawberries and can’t wait to pick them at home in MA this summer. The deep fried pepsi sounds kind of intriguing, but I think you guys made the right choice with the gyros!

Looking forward to seeing lots of strawberries on the blog this week πŸ™‚

43 Neely March 15, 2010 at 8:06 am

Last year at this festival my friend and I ate a funnel cake with chocolate and pb, fried green tomatoes, strawberry shortcakes and stopped at Twistee treat for soft serve when we left. I am fairly certain that was the greatest day of my life.

44 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 15, 2010 at 8:16 am

I love your dress! It’s so cute πŸ™‚

45 Jess March 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

I love Sara Evans too!!

And I love your dress Meghann! It’s so cute and fun. I wish it was warm enough for sundresses up in D.C!

46 Katie March 15, 2010 at 9:22 am

Mmmm. Those strawberry pics made my mouth water! I can’t wait until they’re in season here. Sara Evans is fabulous!

47 Carolyn @ March 15, 2010 at 9:27 am

These posts are making me want to move back to Florida (that along with the no income tax and no personal property tax). πŸ™‚

48 Heather March 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

That sounds like a perfect day to me!! I used to love picking strawberries as a kid- we used to take them straight to the local ice cream stand and top our soft serve with fresh strawberries..yum!!

49 cara March 15, 2010 at 9:53 am

I LOVE the veggie plate. I do that as well after a day of eating out a lot. Looks awesome, and so do the strawberries!

50 RunToTheFinish March 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

strawberry nirvana…awesome!!

51 Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear March 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Strawberry festival looked like a lot of fun! I’ve never been to one but I’ve been to garlic festival, that was yummy too πŸ˜€

Your fresh veggies dinner looks lovely too!

52 Rachel March 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm

That festival looks like so much fun! It reminds me of the MN state fair. I can’t believe how many foods can be deep fried! It is just wrong πŸ˜‰ Glad you had a great weekend.

53 Jes March 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I love, love, love your dress!

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