‘Make your own’ style at Florida Strawberry Festival

The Florida Strawberry Festival is the talk of the town in Plant City, but the talk of festival, is the “Make Your Own” Strawberry Shortcake booth. Whether you want cake or a biscuit, or little or a lot of whipped topping, Saint Clement Catholic Church gives visitors the chance to make their perfect shortcake. 

Saint Clement’s booth is one of the three booths that sell shortcake on the festival grounds. The “Make Your Own” style is what makes the church’s booth stand out from the rest. With the help from parishioners and volunteers, the booth has been running for 43 years. The organization has two coordinators that make sure the project continues to be successful. 

“I think it’s an astounding event and I love to be a part of it.”, said co-coordinator, Paul Hetrick. 

Hetrick has been a coordinator for three years, but has volunteered since 1987. His hard work and dedication to the project would not be complete without his co-coordinator, Kevin McFaul and committee. 

“The committee, it just makes this whole thing smooth. I mean there are just so many things going on. That are a part of this operation.”, Hetrick said. “And as coordinators, we are not necessarily checking up on them on a regular basis. They’re taking care of, because the people that are running them are autonomous.” 

There are over a 150 volunteers that contribute to the success of the booth. The committee and volunteers spend many hours of their day preparing berries, washing buckets, and working the booth at the festival. Some volunteers, like Joseph Herrmann, have been helping out since the project first began. 

“I’ve been here since the start. 43 years.”, Herrmann said. “And the first day we actually cut berries by hand with the prairie knives.” 

Now, there are machines that cut and wash the berries, which makes the process easier. 

Hetrick hopes that people visiting the festival not only get a delicious shortcake, but a friendly and welcoming experience. 

The booth is running all 11 days of the festival. Tickets are four dollars and can be bought at eight different Publix locations beforehand.


Lott invests into hauling junk

Trent Lott recently graduated from the University of Tampa and is already making big moves, as he is now a College Hunks Hauling Junk franchise owner.

College Hunks Hauling Junk is a moving company that also specializes in junk removal. The company originated in 2003 and now has over 60 locations. Trent Lott will be adding to the list when he opens his location.

Lott’s relationship with College Hunks Hauling Junk started over the summer when he was hired as a mover.

“The first couple of weeks I was just kind of doing the job to get money,” Lott said. “then I really started loving the company.”

His drive for entrepreneurship motivated him to start his own franchise.

He started doing his research and asking his general manager, Brandan Underwood for some guidance.

“It was a breath of fresh air to sit down with someone and kind of talk to them about the business side of things,” Underwood said. “I think he saw the potential here in kind of like the same way that I did and he wanted to go forward and purchase a franchise.”

After looking for a couple of months, Lott found an old tire shop in Plant City to use as his location.

Since January he has been planning and remodeling the location. Lott expects to have the College Hunks Hauling Junk Plant City location up and running by March 1


Florida Focus: Hillsborough County high school receives honor from Nike; Humane Society holds pumpkin patch fundraiser

In this episode of Florida Focus:

  • Nike pays homage to the success of Plant High School’s football team through a special Plant Panther shoe.
  • A St. Pete man is in critical condition after his girlfriend allegedly set him on fire. The girlfriend will be charged on aggravated battery.
  • South Florida wants to become the 51st state.
  • The Humane Society of Tampa Bay offers a pumpkin patch promotion to raise money to help support the animals at the shelter.