Florida is approaching 1 of its tastiest periods for tourism. The late winter season traditionally marks the commence of a superior time for food and agricultural festivals in the condition, celebrating important crops and culinary staples. The Villages matches into this tradition with its enormously well-liked Brownwood Strawberry Festival in February — which this year will be expanded to a two-day function — adopted by a blueberry competition in April.
Outdoors The Villages, concept park festival situations and salutes to point out delicacies like Cuban sandwich and Vital lime pie are on the horizon. Meals retains a certain value to persons who come to Florida — according to a 2017 survey from Take a look at Florida, the state’s public-private tourism marketer, foodstuff was the No. 2 explanation that introduced domestic, out-of-state tourists to the Sunshine Condition, trailed only by seashores.
Around the finish of Florida’s strawberry expanding time, lots of communities rejoice the harvests with festivals that present contemporary strawberries, strawberry-flavored treats like strawberry shortcake, and amusement.
The Villages hosts a person of the 1st of these activities, the Brownwood Strawberry Competition, which is a single of the community’s most well known specific functions. This year’s festival will be its to start with multi-working day party, scheduled for Feb. 26-27.
More than 40 sellers are verified for the festival, in accordance to The Villages Enjoyment. Most of the suppliers who will provide generate, these as Reed’s Groves in Weirsdale, obtain their strawberries wholesale from growers in Plant City, the Hillsborough County town regarded as the winter strawberry cash of the planet.
Fitting for that designation, Plant Metropolis also has the state’s largest strawberry festival, the 11-working day Florida Strawberry Festival. The function, which runs March 3-13 this yr, functions an abundance of strawberries and shortcakes. It also draws in performances from headline entertainers such as R&B team Boyz II Gentlemen, rock musician Sammy Hagar and country singer Sam Hunt.
Floral Metropolis and Ocala also have strawberry festivals of their personal.
Strawberry festivals throughout Central Florida, including in The Villages, emphasize the importance of Plant Town as the hub for most of the nation’s winter season strawberry crop, stated Brianne Reichenbach, director of member companies with the Florida Strawberry Growers Affiliation.
“We have about 11,000 acres of strawberries, and when we’re in season, we rejoice it,” she stated. “All of it is important. We require the festivals.”
But it’s not just strawberries that get the like. The Villages will host its very first blueberry competition in Brownwood on April 22, all-around the get started of the crop’s harvest.
Theme Park Occasions
Throughout common off-peak moments, concept parks usually use foodstuff as a way to attract travelers.
SeaWorld Orlando is performing that now, with its 7 Seas Meals Pageant that functions 24 sellers — which park team call markets — that provide a variety of foods specialties, additionally craft beer and wine.
The pageant is managing Thursdays by means of Sundays from now right until May well 8.
Specialties involve jerk hen sliders from the Caribbean Market place, a spicy tuna poke bowl from the Polynesian Industry, miniature shepherd’s pies from the Eire Market place and gumbo from the New Orleans-impressed Gulf Coast Market.
New to this year’s festival is a wine tasting from the Clermont-based Lakeridge Vineyard, which is Florida’s biggest vineyard.
Tastings include Lakeridge’s Southern crimson, Southern white, Cabernet sauvignon and sunblush wines.
Though Disney fans will have to wait till the late summer time for the marquee foods festival at Walt Disney Planet Vacation resort, the Epcot Foods & Wine Competition, one particular impending competition will choose spot on Disney residence.
The Mighty St. Patrick’s Working day Competition at Raglan Street, a Disney Springs cafe, takes place in the days foremost up to St. Patrick’s Working day and the holiday itself. Prior festivals featured Irish food stuff and performances from live bands and Irish dancers.
Assorted Culinary Celebrations
If it is edible, Floridians will rejoice it.
Celebrations of Floridian culinary staples are envisioned afterwards in the 12 months, such as the International Cuban Sandwich Festival on April 3 in Tampa’s Ybor Town and the Key Lime Pageant from June 30 to July 4 in Crucial West.
Some Florida metropolitan areas, like Destin, Fort Myers and Tampa, host macaroni and cheese festivals.
The Lady Lake Chamber of Commerce has 1 prepared, far too. Its inaugural Girl Lake Mac N Cheese Pageant is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. March 19 at Log Cabin Park.
The totally free party will be similar to a chili cook dinner-off, with companies and nonprofits getting ready macaroni and cheese and competing to see who has the finest recipe, stated Leslie DiCesare, the chamber’s government director.
She summed up the extensive attractiveness of foods festivals in explaining why the chamber arranged the function.
“The way to a person’s coronary heart is by means of their tummy,” DiCesare mentioned. “We want to guidance our companies as a great deal as probable, and why not assist them with some mac and cheese?”
Senior author Michael Salerno can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5369, or [email protected]