PLANT CITY – Britney Meisch went to the Florida Strawberry Festival on a whim, expecting nothing more than to spend a fun day with her boyfriend, Luke Fleming.
She didn’t realize she’d leave with the memories of a lifetime – and a sparkling diamond on her left hand.
The St. Petersburg couple was supposed to spend March 7 at an Orlando resort with a pool and manmade river, but temperatures were chilly. She suggested they go to the strawberry festival, which she hadn’t visited since she was a child.
Fleming had already decided that it was the day he’d propose, no matter where they ended up. On the way to the festival, he suggested they get a caricature of themselves.
“It wasn’t like him to make a suggestion like that so I thought it was strange but I never thought he had something more in mind,” she said.
Fleming whispered to the artist to add something to the picture, and they’d be back to pick it up later in the day.
“When I unwrapped it, it said ‘Will you marry me?’ at the bottom. Then he dropped to one knee and proposed. Of course I said yes,” she said.
Other festival visitors who were nearby started to applaud.
“I cried for like a half hour. Even the artist, who was a tall, tough looking guy, started crying,” said Meisch, a 25-year-old server at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach.
The couple’s romance started two years earlier when Fleming, a handsome, 35-year-old management consultant for Dewolff Boberg and Associates, spotted the pretty, blue-eyed brunette at the pool at the apartment complex where they both lived.
They struck up a conversation, and soon started dating.
She calls her visit to the festival as “the happiest day of my life.” The couple plans to marry in April 2015.
Debbie Ray, a Plant City resident who was at the festival with her husband Frank, daughter and son-in-law Tracy and Brian Booher and 15-month-old grandson Brody, said she saw the proposal unfold.
“It was just so neat,” Ray said. “She was totally blown away.”