The 2013 Florida Strawbrerry Festival kicks off today, Thursday, Feb. 28, with Chubby Checker set to perform at 3:30 p.m., followed by Foreigner at 7:30 p.m.
In all, 22 headliner acts are set to perform at the 78th festival, for which this year's Florida Strawberry Festival Queen, Kelsey Fry, and her court will be in full swing promoting. The festival runs from Feb. 28 thorugh March 10.
- See 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival Headliner and Entertainment Lineup
A celebration for the festival was held Feb. 23 at the Evelyn and Batista Madonia Agricultural Center on the Florida Strawbrerry Festival Fairgrounds. There, Dennis Lee and his band performed; Lee has been performing at the festival for 31 years, first as a clown, then with his band.
"I like the opportunity to touch people's lives in a way where you can make a difference and bring happiness to them," Lee said. "I thought through music and comedy, that's the way I could do it."
- See Plant City Gears Up for 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival
Lee performs throughout the festival at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., at the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent. There will be no 7 p.m. show on March 1, 2, 8 and 9.
Also performing at the tent:
- The Jay Taylor Band — 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., with no 5 p.m. show March 3.
- The Sweeney Family Band Country Comedy Revue — Noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., with no 6 p.m. show on March 3.
Set to perform at the Borden Dairy Strawberry Tent:
- Ron Diamond — 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- The Gothard Sisters — 1 p.m, 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Feb. 28 through March 5 only.
- Lloyd Mabrey — 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., March 6-10 only.
Appearing on the Wish Farms Soundstage (but not headliner entertainment):
- Jimmy Stuff and Orchestra — Feb. 28 at 10:30 a.m., for Senior Days at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The concert is free.
- Caroline Kole — Feb. 28 at 10:30 a.m., for Senior Days at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The concert is free.
- Steve Hall and the Shotgun Red Show — March 7 at 10:30 a.m., for Senior Days at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The concert is free.
Additional 2013 Strawberry Festival Entertainment:ON-GROUNDS ENTERTAINMENT Kandu Magic Show Daily, 11:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Also, Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Vision Auto Glass Runa Pacha "Indian World" Daily, 11 a.m, noon, 2 p.m, 4 p.m, 6 p.m., 8 p.m. Verison Wireless Robinson's Racing Pigs 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. Netterifield's Concessions World Champion Lumberjills 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. Also, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Home Depot JUMP! The Ultimate Dog Show 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 8 p.m. Hartz Rock-It the Robot 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 7 p.m. Softub Express SouthWest Dairy Farmers Milking Show 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m, 5 p.m. Southbay Sod Outdoor Services SPECIAL SHOWCASE ACTS Karaoke Contest March 1, March 8, at 7 p.m. Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent Next Radical Generation March 2, 7 p.m. Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent Kari & Billy March 8, March 9, at 6 p.m. Borden Dairy Strawberry Tent The Rev. Art Jones and the Bible-Based Fellowship Cathedral Choir March 9, 7:30 p.m. Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent
2013 Florida Strawberry Festival: Need To Know Thursday, Feb. 28
Today is Senior Citizen's Day and Ride-A-Thon Day at the 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival. Patron age 60 and older get $2 off the gate admission of $10 all day. The day is sponsored by Florida Blue.
Ride-A-Thon is from noon to 11 p.m. A $20 wristband, purchased at the midway, entitles the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Sponsored by TD Bank.
- Gates open at 10 a.m.
- The midway opens at noon.
- Canada Calling with Prior Smith is from 10 a.m. to noon, near Gate 16.
- Jimmy Sturr & Orchestra is set to perform on the Wish Farms Soundstage from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
- The Senior Citizens Drawing is 11:30 a.m. at the Wish Farms Soundstage. You must be present to win.
- Chubby Checker is set to perform at 3:30 p.m. on the Wish Farms Soundstage.
- The CF Industries Youth Swine Show, at the Patterson Co. Livestock Arena, kicks off at 7 p.m.
- Foreigner is set to perform at 7:30 p.m. on the Wish Farms Soundstage.