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$600K investment in COVID upgrades for Florida Strawberry Festival 2021

The festival will feature many changes this year, including no headlining entertainment acts.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Strawberry Festival is less than a week away. The event was first held in 1930, and since then, it has brought thousands of visitors who look to enjoy the entertainment, rides, foods, animals, and more.

The entertainment stage has brought in huge names. Last year, Rascall Flatts and Lynyrd Skynyrd both performed at the festival. But in 2021, there won't be any major musical performers.

“I mean, since the early 50s, we've had entertainment every year. So this year, we had to make a major adjustment there," said Paul Davis, the president of the Florida Strawberry Festival.

The choice was made to keep visitors safe, and it isn't the only change that has been made for safety.

Overall, $600,000 has been invested into upgrading the festival for COVID-19.

“Taking all of our buildings, we put air scrubbers into the air conditioners, at a huge expense. But it cleans the air constantly," said Davis.

On top of that, masks are required inside and encouraged outside. Capacity will be monitored, there are washing and sanitization stations all over, and vendors must wear a mask at all times.

These changes make public health professionals happy.

“So I think if the events are at primarily outdoors, if they're policed well and people really are responsible and wear masks and do as much in the way of social distancing as they possibly can, I think it's a pretty low risk thing to do,” said Dr. Tom Unnasch, a public health expert from USF Health.

The Strawberry Festival opens on March 4th and runs through March 14th.

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