Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Strawberry Festival 2018

Once again the Redhead Express played the Plant City, Florida Strawberry Festival. It is their 5th year to play this venue, and since the family does 5 shows a day (3 for the Redheads, 2 for the Walker Boys) they knew they would need help with the 5 children for the 12 days they were there. I left for Tampa the night of February 27th, arrived the next day and was immediately put to work. 
Yes... I started playing with the kids! 

Rachel was so happy to see Grandma Cindy -

I watched Rachel and Ross along with Hyrum and Ryan while the girls sang the National Anthem at the opening of the Yankees Spring Training game against the Detroit Tigers in Tampa.

If being dirty equates to having fun, then Rachel was having a blast on Wednesday evening as the set up and sound check was finalized.

Unlike Portland and Hillsboro this time of the year, Plant City was warm and sunny, even early in the morning. 

I enjoyed taking my early morning walks around the RV park.

There are 16 people that travel full-time with the Redhead Express. They have a bus that sleeps 8 - 12 and a motor home that sleeps 8. I slept one night in the bus, but I like a little more privacy, so I chose to sleep in a tent for the rest of my stay. It was quiet, roomy, refreshing, and I had this wonderful view at night.

There is so much to see and do at the largest festival held in the U.S.A.
Here, Rachel is showing me her farming technique.

Below, Randy Scott announces one of my favorite entertainers  - Dennis Lee and his band!

Dennis doing his thing - mixing it up with the audience.

The girls pose with Paula, the Smithfield Foods Rep and a new friend.

Dennis and the girls.

A full house in the Publix tent. 
Three show a day for 11 days, and almost all of them were like this-

At one point in the show Alisa walks/dances through the audience playing her fiddle. On this day she looked over and saw Rachel and Hyrum dancing to her music and had to stop to see her little girl.

The crowds were amazing, and more than once when there was no place to sit they gathered around the 3 entrances to listen to the girls. Their venue had seating for about 750-800.

The Walker Boys - aka, Joseph and Ammon Walker and Zack Patton (filling in for Sean who is on his mission) performed for full crowds twice a day in the Smithfield tent.

Megan plays base on one of their closing songs.

Megan is a admitted chocoholic. Here she shares her chocolate with the audience and her fans on the sidelines.

Ross and his Mama after a show.

The Redheads are having a drawing for this custom made guitar with was donated to them by 
Black Horse Music and customized by Darryl Cody.
By the way Alisa, your blonde hair is cute. 
(But I still like you better as a Redhead 😉)

Heading back to the campground at the end of a long day. 
These two are always happy in Daddy's arms.

Unfortunately Cody was sick for a couple of days, it didn't stop him, but he did slow down for a couple of hours one afternoon and actually fell asleep.

This year Rachel was tall enough to ride on some of the rides at "Kiddie-Land", and boy did she love it!

Pure joy on that face! 

Like her Grandpa Darryl and Great-Grandpa Bill, she concentrates best with her tongue at the side of her mouth. 

She liked the pink car the best!

Cody, Alisa, the kids and I would arrive at the grounds at 8:30 a.m. This gave us time to fix breakfast, and Alisa could do her hair and make-up in a bigger, less crowded environment.

Since the festival didn't open until 10:00, we could drive the car right to the trailer and unload rather than carry everything 3 blocks from the parking lot. It's actually peaceful and calming in the morning before the crowds arrive.

Of course when you go to the Strawberry Festival you have to eat some Strawberry Shortcake.

Rachel and I shared a couple of them and sent the pictures to Grandpa Darryl to make him jealous! 

And then there's Peachy's Amish Donuts and Pretzels....

And the delicious fried vegetables, Not to mention the BBQ, and Pickle Barrel steak, and popcorn and lemonade and Wisconsin deep fried cheese and pizza on a stick and more and more.....

We took Rachel for another face painting. 

She sat right up their like an old pro and told the lady she wanted to be a Rainbow Cat.

And the artist obliged.


Since we got to the park early, I had time to fix Miss Rachel's hair each morning.

I couldn't believe how still she would sit for me when I would put 10 or 12 ponytails in her hair.
It looked so cute!

On the last day I had to get a picture with Dennis. Of course he is a clown - 
Having fun with Dennis!

We had some carnival tickets we had to use up too.

She learned how to spin the tea-cup ... and make me dizzy!

And she is quite proud of her driving skills....

She's a little disappointed she didn't get the Pink tractor..

But she had fun driving it anyway.

The sign on our designated trailer.

Wednesday March 7th, the girls sang the National Anthem at the opening of the Trace Adkins Show at the Grandstands in honor of Serviceman's day at the fair.

This is the main Midway. I've never been there but it looks amazing. Maybe next year.

The last night of the fair we were given tickets to the Brad Paisley concert on Grandstand Stage.

I had a great seat - Center stage Row 22. 

Brad Paisley is one of my favorite performers, a good singer and great guitar player. 

I haven't been to a live concert like this in over 20 years 
(1996 Indiana State Fair, George Strait)

So to say I had a great time is almost an understatement. Thanks for the tickets and an awesome evening!

On the last day Cody helped me make a couple of personalized bracelets to wear this summer.

One says Grandma and the other says Cindy. 

Going Home-
When my first flight landed in Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon, I looked out the window and noticed the duct tape. I wasn't scared about anything falling apart, my thinking was...
Wow! that's great stuff if it can hold up flying through the air at 400+ mph!

I arrived home Tuesday, March 13th at 9:00 p.m., a little tan, kind of sick, very tired and so very, very happy to be back with my sweetheart. But... I am looking forward to doing it again next year, so until then......

Good bye Florida for now!