PLANT CITY, FL. – The 2022 Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida is in full force this year, as it has been every year since 1930.
No matter what is going on in the world during any particular year, the festival always provides a happy place to get away from it all and enjoy the food, entertainment, exhibits, and more, all with that hometown flavor and flare. After all, it is one of the top 10 most attended fairs and festivals in the country.
Fried foods are always a top mention and over the course of the years, there have been fried Snicker candy bars, fried twinkies, fried oreo cookies. Oh, and do you remember the short-lived fried Pepsi, fried bubble gum, and fried butter. It almost got to the point that if you could dip it in batter and fry it, fairgoers would flock to eat it. Then the glazed donut burgers took over!
Then we have that word “fresh”, not normally mentioned at a fair, but it’s a word that comes up frequently during my conversation with Paul, the General Manager of Justin Sattler’s food stands. A 15-year veteran of the Festival, Sattler Enterprises boosts 7 stands, 3 of which are at this years’ Florida Strawberry Festival.
First, we have the “Bourbon Chicken” stand. An attractive setup with decorative giant artificial daisies, chickens, tin signs, and even a bourbon barrel. While the main grill and prep cooking areas are housed in a transformed shipping container.
That’s right, check it out closely in person. A huge flame grill has chicken kabobs, whole chickens, and wings. Then there is the great smelling aroma of the giant pan of red peppers, green peppers, and onions. I tried the bourbon chicken kabob.
I must say it was some of the tenderest, juiciest chicken breast pieces I have had the pleasure of eating. A generous smothering of homemade sauce coated the chicken. The flavor gave an excellent complement to the perfectly grilled chicken. Paul told me it was a recipe that was created 40 years ago. Just like the Colonel, the chicken preparation consists of a secret preparation of ingredients that include boiling, seasoning, grilling, and basting.
Right next door is the “Sattlers Pizza” stand. Every single item is fresh and homemade here. Through the windows you can see the fresh pizza dough being made and mounds of it rising, toppings are sliced by hand.
This stand also serves homemade pretzels. Nothing frozen here. Order a whole pie, or by the slice. There also is a Baked Potatoe stand owned by the group at the fair, which was not visited this time.
This years’ festival runs through Sunday, March 13. Gates open daily at 10 am. Upcoming entertainment this week will include Lee Greenwood, Jake Owen, The Platters, Telsa, Nelly, and Sam Hunt, among many others.
Activities include a major Midway, Kiddie ride area, Neighborhood Village (judged food, arts & crafts), Judged Professional and Amateur Art exhibit, free acts in Showcase Tent, a wide variety of commercial vendors, and Senior Days.