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Florida Strawberry Festival DO – Tampa, FL 29Feb - 2Mar 2008

Florida Strawberry Festival DO – Tampa, FL 29Feb - 2Mar 2008

Old Dec 13, 07, 6:00 am
  #1  
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Florida Strawberry Festival DO – Tampa, FL 29Feb - 2Mar 2008

Our friend szg lives in Austria and there, in the middle of the Central European winter, longs for a taste of strawberries, his most favorite food. Therefore, since we like szg and we also like strawberries, some of us will gather at the famous Florida Strawberry Festival http://www.flstrawberryfestival.com/ on Saturday, March 1. We will sample everything that is made from strawberries - pie, jam, shortcake, whatever. We will also get our share of those giant berries fresh off the vines which are a feature of that fair.

On the ground in Tampa, helping to plan the events (and expending a considerable amount of time and effort doing so) is our local hostess for this DO, MsEverywhere.

Due to an outstanding suggestion made by tkey75, the Friday evening hockey game Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs will be the first official event of the weekend. Tickets have been ordered for all who declared interest in attending as of Friday, January 18. For more information, see note in Milepost #2.

We will plan some dinners and possibly another event, but those who simply want to relax can just sit around and spend a few days gorging on the strawberries and getting some sun. There figure to be some late evening sessions featuring wine (possibly some with bubbles), brandies, and possibly some single malts.

SATURDAY EVENING DINNER TO BE HELD AT COLUMBIA IN YBOR CITY AT 630PM. (See milepost #2)

SUNDAY BRUNCH WILL BE HELD AT THE CASTAWAYS AT 11AM. (See Milepost #58 for some details).

SUNDAY DINNER AT BERN'S STEAKHOUSE http://www.bernssteakhouse.com/bs_frame.htm IS NOW DEFINITE. RESERVATION IS FOR 8PM.]

Some who are definitely coming from out-of-town have flexible bookings at the Intercontinental Tampa. Others will be at the nearby Renaissance. Any hotel that comes up when you ask for "near TPA" will be in the immediate vicinity. MCO and SRQ are relatively short drives from Tampa. There is also some LCC and charter service into PIE.

Plant City is about a 30 minute highway drive east of TPA. Depending on the size of the group, we will either arrange for coach transportation out to Plant City or rely on sharing private cars. It is likely that there will be enough cars to take everybody since, like most of Florida, a car is virtually essential when visiting.

As of this writing, the participants (with tentative hotels) are:

DEFINITE
szg (Intercontinental, with Freddie Jr. in tow, "hoping...for a nice suite upgrade")
monitor and Franny (Intercontinental)
MsEverywhere (our local host will be staying at the Marriott Westshore)
the_happiness_store ("Hyatt [Place] Friday and Saturday night")
MikeMpls and Kathy ("Hyatt Place Tampa Airport / Westshore, pricelined...")
lucky9876coins + 1 (local, will "make most of the events")
Vulcan (local, will join us at Columbia for dinner and show)
BondAir007 (Intercontinental, marked down for all events)
timid_trnchcoat (local, "Saturday events and the Sunday brunch")
USF03 (local, "Columbia sounds like fun," possible for hockey, Strawberry Festival "too redneck")
berlinflyer + Rita (all events thru Sunday Brunch, Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk)
magic111 ("arriving too late Saturday for dinner" staying thru Monday, all events Sunday)

PROBABLE
dan1431 (now likely to get off work for that weekend, Renaissance)
SchmutzigMSP (but only "possible" for Sunday)

POSSIBLE
nor4 (obligations may interfere)

KNOW HOW MUCH FUN IT WILL BE
(but can't be there or have not committed to coming down)
ECOTONE
jamiel
andre1970 ("can't make this one")
dedehans ("prior commitments")
Dorlee ("flying to VCE")
Sweet Willie ("plans to be in Boston")
Cholula ("but we'll be in Maui")
Traveller ("I'll be in Miami")
punki ("Work, work, work. The plague of the traveling class.")
hobo13 + family ("won't be making our annual trip to Florida this winter.")
tkey75 and Petra (late scratch)
nroscoe ("schedule has not opened up")
KLC (out of town that weekend)
alliance ("Not going to make it... canceled IC reservation")

Last edited by monitor; Feb 27, 08 at 7:13 pm
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Old Dec 13, 07, 6:32 am
  #2  
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FRIDAY NIGHT HOCKEY - Tampa Bay Lightning v. Toronto Maple Leafs

This game is scheduled for 8PM rather than the usual 7 so some of our late arrivals may be able to get there in time.
THE BLOCK OF TICKETS HAS BEEN PURCHASED. TOTAL COST PER SEAT IS $47, DISCOUNTED FROM THE $60 STANDARD. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE HOCKEY EVENT, PLEASE LET ME KNOW SO THAT WE CAN TRY TO GET YOU NEAR THE GROUP AT THE SAME DISCOUNTED PRICE.

HOCKEY DEFINITES
szg
monitor + Franny
MsEverywhere
berlinflyer + Rita
BondAir007

SATURDAY EVENING DINNER

A good suggestion has been made by MsEverywhere for this dinner. It will be held at Columbia in Ybor City which features Spanish-Cuban food http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/ybor.asp along with a flamenco show.

It is one of the oldest (and most famous) restaurants in the area and Ybor City will be convenient to reach because it is on the way back from Plant City to TPA. http://www.ybor.org/ http://www.ybortimes.com/what-is-ybor.cfm

We HAVE SCHEDULED the dinner for 630 so that we can take in the 7PM flamenco show and there still will be some time afterward to walk off the food and catch some of the attractions at Ybor City. In the last few years, it has become more than just a place where cigars are rolled. Unless we hear otherwise from you, we will presume that all who have declared definite will be coming to Columbia.

WE NOW HAVE MADE RESERVATIONS FOR SATURDAY'S DINNER AT COLUMBIA. THE RESERVATION COVERS ALL OF THOSE WHO HAVE STATED THAT THEY ARE "DEFINITE" OR "PROBABLE." IF YOU HAVE ANY CHANGE OF STATUS, PLEASE POST IMMEDIATELY SO THAT WE CAN INCREASE OR DECREASE THE SIZE OF THE TABLE AS MAY BE NECESSARY.


SUNDAY

THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE A VERY EARLY FLIGHT OUT ON SUNDAY ARE INVITED TO JOIN THE GROUP AT 11AM AT THE CASTAWAYS RESTAURANT FOR BRUNCH. CASTAWAYS IS CLOSE TO THE AIRPORT AND TO THE HOTELS (MORE DESCRIPTION IN MILEPOST #58). A GROUP RESERVATION WILL BE MADE, SO PLEASE INFORM US BY POST OR PM IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COME OR KNOW THAT YOU CANNOT.

BRUNCH DEFINITES:
szg (guest of honor)
MsEverywhere
monitor & Franny
timid_trnchcoat
berlinflyer + Rita
the_happiness_store
BondAir007
magic111

CAN'T COMMIT YET:
lucky9876coins + 1

Another suggestion by MsEverywhere has been to drive up to Tarpon Springs to see the history of the sponge diving industry (SEE MILEPOST #58 FOR MORE INFORMATION). There will be a number of us going up there after stopping at the airport to drop off those with flights. This group will form during the weekend but we are sure that there will be some who would prefer to just have the day of R & R with time to visit one of the lovely Gulf beaches, hang out at one of the hotel pools, or take in another local attraction such as Busch Gardens http://www.buschgardens.com

There will be a dinner on Sunday at 8PM. Most of those staying until Monday (and some locals) will be checking out the famous wine list at Bern's Steak House http://www.bernssteakhouse.com/bs_frame.htm

BERNS DEFINITES:
szg
monitor
& Franny
MsEverywhere
MikeMpls
& Kathy
BondAir007
magic111

However, Sunday overnighters who are country music fans have the alternative of attending the Roseanne Cash concert at the Performing Arts Center.

Last edited by monitor; Feb 26, 08 at 11:05 am
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Old Dec 13, 07, 6:41 am
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szg
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Thanks for making this event true for me. Flights and hotel are booked.
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Old Dec 13, 07, 11:51 am
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Wow, awesome! This is literally right around the corner from me, so I am definitely interested. Have to finalize my schedule, but I'm almost positive I can make it. Heck, I may even stay at the IC just for fun.
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Old Dec 13, 07, 3:24 pm
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I did not know a strawberry festival existed.

I'll keep it on my radar and if I'm free that weekend, possibly.
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Old Dec 14, 07, 10:53 am
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I'm planning to attend, and can help with local arrangements if we need anything.
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Old Dec 15, 07, 4:28 pm
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Unhappy

I know already I can't make this one. Shame, since I do know how much our good friend szg loves strawberries...

That being said, I'm consoled by the fact that I paid my strawberry duties to him on his birthday party in LA back in October!
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Old Dec 15, 07, 5:07 pm
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szg
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Originally Posted by andre1970 View Post
That being said, I'm consoled by the fact that I paid my strawberry duties to him on his birthday party in LA back in October!
Yes, and this was really a nice surprise !!
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Old Dec 15, 07, 10:08 pm
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Well, now that I know, count me in as very probable. It just so happens that I'll have to check on my Fla affairs just before that weekend and can easily extend my trip to include a weekend in Tampa eating strawberries. I might even convince a guest to join me.
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Old Dec 16, 07, 4:23 pm
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The FL Strawberry Festival has just about become an annual event for my family! I think I've been there at least 4 out of the last 5 years -- I typically go south to visit the folks (who are now snowbirds!) and it's nearby. We are big country music fans, and the festival usually has a really good schedule of big name performers. (Although I've never heard of the March 1 groups, unfortunately.) Aside from the big concerts in the late afternoon and evening, there are a lot of smaller shows with relatively entertaining acts as well like you would find at a county fair. I highly suggest the 'make-your-own' strawberry shortcake stand run by one of the local church groups.

Anyway, we haven't booked out trip for this winter yet, but if it lands on that weekend, we'll keep the DO in mind. So put us down as 'on the radar' for now. And in the meantime, if anyone has any questions about the festival, let me know.

Last edited by hobo13; Dec 16, 07 at 4:29 pm
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Old Dec 17, 07, 10:43 am
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New Event

The first official event of the weekend will be the NHL hockey game between Tampa and Toronto. See post #2 for more details.

Last edited by monitor; Dec 21, 07 at 11:39 am
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Old Dec 17, 07, 10:47 am
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a coworker of mine is from plant city, fl - so i've heard A LOT about this event. sounds like a fun time - with plenty of strawberries!!
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Old Dec 17, 07, 3:22 pm
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szg
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Originally Posted by monitor View Post
The first official event of the weekend will be the NHL hockey game between Tampa and Toronto. See post #1.
Great idea !!! Of course, I will attend, because my last NHL games was at DEN last year.
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Old Dec 17, 07, 4:20 pm
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The Fri night game has the potential to be pretty good. Both teams are in the middle of the pack as far as standings, so there might be some playoff implications for either of them by the time March comes around.
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Old Dec 19, 07, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by ECOTONE View Post
a coworker of mine is from plant city, fl - so i've heard A LOT about this event. sounds like a fun time - with plenty of strawberries!!
Soooooo, what are you waiting for????

Since you appear from your USAirways forum posts to be East Coast (PHL or maybe DC) based, it will be very easy for you to pop down to TPA for our silly weekend. And bring your co-worker. There will be lots of strawberries, lots of food and drink, and lots of laughs,
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