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Live Oak Strawberry Festival drew large crowds

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, crowds gathered steadily at the First Annual Strawberry Festival in Live Oak, held at the coliseum. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

By Tami Stevenson

Live Oak, Fla., – With the threat of inclement weather looming, the first Strawberry Festival held Valentine’s Day weekend in Live Oak by Buckler Shows, still had a great turnout with a steady line of visitors waiting at the front doors of the coliseum to get into the event all day on Saturday. The lines were not as long on Sunday but was still a good event.

The show was well organized. It included many arts and craft booths, inside and out, with lots of strawberry offerings including strawberry fudge, strawberry shortcake, strawberry pound cakes and cheesecakes, etc., but bulk strawberries were not to be found. Workers were out front letting visitors know there were no bulk strawberries available before they paid their entrance fee of $5.00. Originally it was $6.00 but they took a dollar off because of the strawberries.

To the disappointment of many that came for bulk strawberries, Margaret Buckler, Buckler Shows owner and creator said, “We were not able to get Plant City strawberries because of the bad weather.” She said she realizes many were let down by that. She said her man waited until 10:45 in Plant City for three different growers and they could not supply them because they had bad weather the prior week. “We could have gotten seconds, but we wanted only the best.”

Buckler added that they want to make this an annual event. “Next year it will be even bigger and better,” said Buckler, and said she was happy with the great turnout. They offered free bounce houses and an inside play area for children, live entertainment, a cutest baby contest and three pie eating contests throughout the day.

Karen Hurst, of Live Oak, owner of Sissy’s Pound Cakes, was a vendor at the event, selling a variety of pound cakes, including strawberry. Although she has a commercial kitchen, she is not open to the public. Customers wanting more of her culinary delights can find her products at Busy Bee stores in Live Oak and Lake City. When she began two or three years ago, she was not sure how well the business would do. “It has turned into a full-time job,” Hurst said, between Busy Bee, mail order and attending events like this.

Another interesting booth sold a beautiful plant with flowery, banana-shaped tubes hanging down, called a pitcher plant. The interesting part is that it eats bugs. Jasumati Patel, based out of Alachua, said the plants cover about a ten foot radius and they eat mosquitos, roaches, spiders, carpenter bees, etc. The plants she sells are native to India. Anyone interested in purchasing plants from her can visit her Facebook page at

Another strawberry festival by Buckler is scheduled for March 6 & 7 in Green Cove Springs, Florida. She said they should have plenty of strawberries there. They will also have a watermelon festival in Starke, June 26 & 27, 2021. For more information visit

Cutest Baby Contest Winners: L-R: First place girl, Grace Darling, Second place girl, Scarlett Burger. First place Boy: Logan Lustik, Second place boy: Anakin Fergus -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

The pie eating contest was so popular they held three of them throughout the day on Saturday. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

Vendor Karen Hurst, of Live Oak, owner of Sissy’s Pound Cakes

What event would be complete without the family dogs?
Kristi and Jason Long from St. Cloud, Florida say they take them everywhere so they can socialize.
Dogs L-R: Tator-Tot, Lola, and Lilly. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

Posey Shook, of Valdosta, did not place in the cutest baby contest but is adorable, nonetheless. Her father is Irish and her mother is Japanese. Posey got Daddy’s red hair and blue eyes that are shaped like Mommy’s! Blue Japanese eyes that are simply beautiful. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

Roger and Eileen Burger of Live Oak, parents of Scarlett Burger, who will be one next week, placed second in the cutest baby contest. Happy First Birthday, Scarlett. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

Outside crowds were steady as well at the Strawberry Festival. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson