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Florida Strawberry Fest drew near record crowds

Posted at 5:11 PM, Mar 15, 2016

This year's huge attendance numbers for the Florida Strawberry Festival was the icing on the cake for a highly successful 11-day run.

The annual festival celebrating eastern Hillsborough County's strawberry festival attracted nearly record numbers, officials said. The official number of festival-goers through the gates March 3 to March 13 totaled 560,487 visitors, one of the highest attendance figures ever reported for the strawberry fest.

"We had a phenomenal run, and we are truly thankful," Florida Strawberry Festival General Manager Paul Davis said. "We had terrific weather, good crowds, and everyone seemed to be enjoying time with their families."

The visitors also were attracted by the live music concerts, livestock shows, free entertainment, rides, food, arts and crafts among other activities, Davis said.

Belle City Amusements Inc., the carnival company contracted to provide the festival's rides, reported an 18% increase in sales over last year's gross.

The 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival will be held March 2 through March 12.