Despite many thinking it was named for flora grown at plant nurseries (especially vegetables and fruits, as well as tropical houseplants) in its tropical Gulf Coast climate, it was named after prominent railroad developer Henry B. Plant (who you may know has a museum in Tampa named after him). Henry B. Plant was the founder of the Plant System of railroads and steamboats, which were mostly throughout the South.
Originally Plant City was a large cotton center. Changing its major crop to strawberries has brought it national recognition. Today, over 3/4 of the nation’s midwinter strawberries come from Plant City. Now Plant City is known as the winter strawberry capital of the world and hosts the annual Florida Strawberry Festival in the late winter (usually in February or early March), which is attended by people from all over the United States as well as many people from around the world – and is also one of my favorite times of year!
Plant City’s original name given during the middle 1800s was Ichepuckesassa (also known as Idasukshed) after the Indian village that once occupied the territory. Its name caused so much confusion that the city was renamed “Cork”, after the postmaster’s Irish hometown. It was finally given the name “Plant City” in commemoration of Henry B. Plant and his railroad.
Plant City is incorporated, which means essentially it has its own government and utilities. So, Plant City has its own police, water, sewer, and solid waste departments, all separate from Hillsborough County, the county it is located in.
The Florida Strawberry Festival brings people from all around for a over-a-week-long festival celebrating the strawberry crop of the year.
If you think “Well I don’t even like strawberries that much” just hold on to your thoughts there for a moment. The festival has something for everyone! Of course there is fair food; that fried goodness, giant turkey legs, fresh squeezed lemonade. The usual festival rides are found nearby, while there is live music every day, plus tons of livestock shows, eating contests, pig races, handmade and handcrafted exposition hall with judged categories, a beauty pageant, and more!
The Florida Strawberry Festival is held usually at the end of February or beginning of March when the winter strawberry crop is at its peak. You will also find tons of roadside tents selling strawberries around this time of year as well as many farms offering U-pick options for you to get your hands on a few flats of strawberries.
Agriculture is a big part of Plant City so even if you don’t like strawberries, if you like any kind of fresh frits and vegetables, you are in for a treat!
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