TAMPA, Fla. — At ABC Action News, we know it's the combination of all the communities that make Tampa Bay great to live in. That's why we've started a new series of reporting highlighting good things happening around town, discovering cool gems you may not know about, and uncovering the big news events impacting those areas.
On Friday, the Good Morning Tampa Bay team focused on Plant City.
Complete Coverage: GBTB Local Spotlight
Berry Interesting Facts
- Plant City is known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World
- The city's annual Florida Strawberry Festival started in 1930 but didn't become an annual event until 1948
- Plant City's original name was Ichepucksassa after the Indian village that once occupied this territory. So much confusion was created with the spelling and pronunciation that the Irish postmaster renamed the village Cork, after his home city.
- Plant City became incorporated in 1885 by a 49 to 1 vote. It had a population of approximately 350 people, thirteen stores, several hotels, a frame schoolhouse and two churches.
We're highlighting local programs and businesses, road safety projects and more.
Plant City's McIntosh Preserve helps recharge aquifer
McIntosh Preserve is one of the newest additions to Plant City's list of parks and recreation.
The preserve stretches more than 300 acres with more than two miles of walking trails and a beautiful observation tower with a pristine view.
But this preserve is more than meets the eyes. The main function here is water reclamation.
Whistle Stop Cafe continues traditions for 22 years in downtown Plant City
Homemade bread, delicious sandwiches, hugs and new friends are exactly what you'll find when you walk into the Whistle Stop Cafe in Downtown Plant City.
The popular lunch spot has been here for 22 years.
Marti and Jerry Lofstrom embarked on this journey after spending some time in Brandon.
Brick City Bricks helps bring Plant City community together
Downtown Plant City is finding its way with new, locally-owned shops.
Brick City Bricks started in downtown Plant City a few years ago. It's the area's very own LEGO store.
Inside you'll find everything you could ever want to build from mini characters to giant builds.
Keel and Curley Winery releases Watermelon Blush Wine again this summer
Keel and Curley Winery and Keel Farms are staples in Plant City.
The two are located right off I-4 close to Dinosaur World.
The Winery does well over 500,000 bottles of wine a year! But they're most known for their blueberry wines.
Once again this Summer, they're launching their Watermelon Blush Wine, made from watermelons right on site.
Plant City Photo Archives and History Center helps preserve areas past
Plant City is full of old, historic buildings and a very prominent past in the farming and strawberry industry, as well as the railroad.
Today, a lot of that history is kept at the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center on Evers Street in downtown.
It's a nonprofit organization with a huge collection of photos from a local photographer, Bill Friend. After Friend passed away, his personal collection helped create the Photo Archives and History Center.
Plant City Mercantile brings in love of things both old and new
Located in an old Fertilizer and Seed store in downtown Plant City is The Mercantile.
An old, large brick building that's now been re-purposed.
Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum highlights Plant City's rich train history
Spend some time in Plant City, especially through downtown, and you'll hear and see an important piece of the area's history.
Trains used to run right through downtown all day and night. Back in the early 1900s, the railroad was a primary source of distributing fruits and vegetables and getting people to Tampa.
Plant City native adds unique business to downtown with soaps and lotions
A small family-owned business is finding its mark in downtown Plant City.
TubTreats Bath and Body is full of locally made items from soaps and lotions to candles, and they come in dozens of scents.
Debra Flowers is celebrating her fourth year of having a brick-and-mortar store. She quit her 29-year-career as a hairdresser and set out to find something new.
Plant City's Dinosaur World is fun for the whole family
For 24 years, dinosaurs have lined I-4 in Plant City.
Entering Dinosaur World will make you feel like you're entering Jurassic Park but the park is fun for the whole family.
It's geared for kids under 12.
Plant City Arts Council helps bring art to the community
The arts are super important to this community and the Plant City Arts Council knows the perfect way to get people involved.
For instance, take a quick walk around downtown this month and you'll notice some people frozen in time.
The sculptures are temporary, hand-picked and brought to the area every year. It's a welcome sight for visitors and locals.
Plant City's Clogging Connection takes country by storm
Plant City's Clogging Connection is taking the country by storm.
"We've been around for years, the longest competition team for clogging in the country," Kaley Conn, the director said.
City Furniture warehouse, showroom on track to be complete this year
City Furniture is opening a brand new warehouse distribution center and showroom right off I-4 in Plant City.
They gave us a sneak peek of how the work is going in their whopping 1.3 million square foot building.
The building will be a huge economic driver for the city with jobs already being filled.
New hospital under construction in Plant City as population grows
As Plant City continues to grow, so is the need for a bigger hospital. Construction is underway for the new South Florida Baptist Hospital.
“This project not only is exciting for our hospital, it really is exciting for the community of Plant City,” said Karen Kerr, President of South Florida Baptist Hospital.
Walking Club: Exploring Brewer Park and Cooper Park in Plant City
In Plant City, you don't have to drive far to get some steps in! You can easily rack up mileage at two parks less than two miles away from each other in the downtown area.
Plus, Plant City residents and visitors have a new preserve to look forward to that will open in the coming months.
FDOT road upgrades in Plant City area are designed to make commuting faster and safer
Several road projects in and around the Plant City area are set to make commuting faster and safer for drivers.
Keel Farms winery planting hope and inspiration while adapting to COVID-19
Keel Farms in Plant City is a winery, brewery, and a restaurant all in one. During lockdowns, ambassadors sold wine on the streets, held virtual tastings, and ramped up their wine production.
The farm's actions helped stave off the fallout from COVID-19 and help get them in a better position today than in March.