Plant City, Fla.-(6/22/2018)-The man who was the face of the Florida Strawberry Festival has passed away. Al Berry, who was the man inside the Mr. Berry suit at the festival, died at his home here at age 83.
I've know Al for over 30 years. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to Tampa Bay years ago. It was Al who invited me to my first Strawberry Festival Media party. I've been to a bunch of those gatherings since.
Al managed to handle all of the media for the party and the festival. He was the go-to guy for interviews about the festival and with some of the stars who played at the big event. We got to be telephone friends and I was in his email chain. I got all of his bad jokes and political takes on many topics.
Al was also a radio guy. Al was part-owner and morning co-host on the old WPLA Radio here. He had a great radio voice. You have probably heard his voice If you ever attended the Strawberry Festival or the Florida State Fair. He did the announcements at both.
Plant City and the Florida Strawberry Festival won't be the same without Al Berry. We're going to miss him down here.
Photo by Jerrie Hall