Florida Views: The Florida Strawberry Festival in 1939


By Scott K. Sholl


With the annual Florida Strawberry Festival under way in Plant City, we are featuring some of Marion Post Wolcott’s remarkable photographs of the festival, taken 76 years ago, while Wolcott was on assignment for the Farm Security Administration.

Wolcott, who was one of the FSA’s only two female photographers, made multiple trips to Florida during the late 1930s and early 40s, where she photographed migrant laborers, vegetable pickers, and construction workers. In those evocative images and others, Wolcott documented the Great Depression’s brutal impact on Florida and its people.

But the images Wolcott captured at Plant City’s fair, in March 1939, served as departure point during her Florida photographic journey. Indeed, she documented Floridians binding as a community, celebrating their shared culture, and persevering in the midst of turmoil.

Years later, reflecting on her work with the FSA, Wolcott recalled that the hardest time for her was the many wayfaring miles on the road:

“One has the feeling of not belonging anywhere, of having no roots or base. It is a kind of numbness. One never really participates in anything. … One never has the same feeling of belonging as one does when with former acquaintances and friends. It is a need to be with familiar people, to walk known streets, and recognize familiar places. It is not good to feel always that one must go on, leaving everything unfinished and incomplete — both work and human relationships.”


 

Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Title: Plant City, Florida, strawberry festival and carnival


Photos Courtesy of LOC/Marion Post Wolcott

Editor’s Note: This Florida Verve post was originally published in 2015.