The Strawberry Festival and Plant City have a special connection

He’s the man they named the town after, Henry B. Plant, a railroad man. But, the plant that became famous here years ago was the berry.

"As soon as they see the berry they say Strawberry Festival," says Paul Davis, pointing to the berry logo on his shirt. "We’re proud of it."

Davis served 15 years as president of the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, an event that dates back to the 1930, when they first crowned the Strawberry Queen. Ellany Johnson has seen generations of them. It’s been going on for generations since them. "And now those little children have children of their own and their children are in the pageant." Johnson has helped run the festival since 1972.

We talk to her and Davis in a special place.

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"This is a sacred room. I don’t even have a key," laughs Davis.

It’s where the Strawberry Queen and her court get ready, trimmed in red with sparkles and mirrors and pictures.

Once a year Plant City, a town of 35 thousand, welcomes up to 500 thousand visitors over the 11-day festival for some small town flavor. The sweetest part of it may be the famous strawberry shortcake that people line up for.

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When the berry boom first began in the 1920's, they had no idea it would grow into a $1 billion dollar industry. Plant City is known as the Winter Strawberry Capital.

"I challenge you to go to any state in the country and not find a Plant City Strawberry in the winter "

And you’d be challenged to find a slice of Americana more authentic. "It’s just part of my life," says Johnson.

It’s hard to imagine life in Plant City without the strawberry and its famous festival.