Strawberry tacos and pie on a stick at the Florida Strawberry Festival; camel rides and racing pigs at the Central Florida Fair


  • photo courtesy Hambone Express (that's right, HAMBONE EXPRESS!)

The Central Florida Fair celebrates its 109th anniversary March 4-14 with plenty of entertainment options like the Sea Lion Splash, Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean, racing pigs, camel rides, live music and helicopter rides (weather permitting). The fair has implemented new health and safety guidelines: Face masks will be required for attendees 6 years of age or older when not actively drinking or eating; all indoors events have been canceled this year; and all rides will receive a "deep cleaning" prior to opening, which will be repeated throughout the event. Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive, $6-$100,

The venerable Florida Strawberry Festival, also running March 4-14, celebrates the berry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County. Some of the strawb-goodness that will be served up includes the fest's "world famous" strawberry shortcake, strawberry milkshakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, strawberry pie, fudge, cobbler, cheesecake and tacos. (Yes, tacos.) Try your hand at some of the strawberry-themed contests, including the Fanta strawberry throwdown, deep-fried strawberry pie on a stick relay, and strawberry shortcake eating contest. Due to safety concerns amid the pandemic, the festival has been scaled down, and the usual big-name live music isn't happening this year. 2209 W. Oak Ave., Plant City, $10,

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