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Monday, Oct 24, 2016
Plant City Courier

Bret Michaels to appear March 9 at Strawberry Festival

PLANT CITY Rocker Bret Michaels has been signed to play March 9 at the Florida Strawberry Festival, as the festival strives to appeal to a broader audience. "We wanted a little diversity," festival General Manager Paul Davis said today. The 49-year-old former Poison front man will appear at 7:30 p.m. at the festival's Wish Farms Soundstage. The group was known for such hits as "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Talk Dirty to Me." Michaels' credits also include a VH1 reality series and a win on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice." He is also known for his charitable work, including  $500,000 he won on "Celebrity Apprentice" for the American Diabetes Association, with a donation of $250,000 coming from Snapple to go towards researching a cure for the condition. 
His health in recent years has also made the headlines, including his recovery from an emergency appendectomy, a brain hemorrhage and a minor stroke. Davis said while its roots are in country, the festival has strived to broaden its appeal in recent years with rock and other types of music. This year's lineup also includes a Feb. 28 appearance by the rock band Foreigner. Davis said the festival has had its eye on signing Michaels for some time. Other headliners include country stars Dwight Yoakam on March 4 and Blake Shelton on March 10. Concert ticket prices haven't been released for any of the shows and the artists for a few shows haven't been announced due to negotiations or other factors, Davis said. Tickets for the 78th annual festival go on sale at 8 a.m. Dec. 3 through www.flstrawberryfestival.com, by phone at (813) 754-1996 or at the festival ticket office at 2209 W. Oak St. in Plant City. Concert ticket prices have not been announced yet. In addition to the reserved seats, there are about 3,000 free seats at each show in the festival grandstand. Admission tickets purchased in advance at the festival ticket office are $8 for ages 13 and older and $4 for ages 6 to 12. Admission prices at the gate are $10 for adults and $5 for youths. Children 5 and younger are free when accompanied by a paying adult. FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL HEADLINERS Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra, 10:30 a.m. Feb. 28 Chubby Checker, 3:30 p.m. Feb. 28 Foreigner, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 Gene Watson, 3:30 p.m. March 1 Casting Crowns, 7:30 p.m. March 1 Caroline Cole, 1 p.m. March 2 Justin Moore, 7:30 p.m. March 2 Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis, 3:30 p.m. March 4 Dwight Yoakam, 7:30 p.m. March 4 Bobby Vinton, 3:30 p.m. March 5 Martina McBride, 7:30 p.m. March 5 Neal McCoy, 3:30 p.m. March 6 Trace Adkins, 7:30 p.m. March 6 Steve Hall & the Shotgun Red Show, 10:30 a.m. March 7 Mel Tillis, 3:30 p.m. March 7 Brantley Gilbert, 7:30 p.m. March 7 T.G. Sheppard and Janie Fricke, 3:30 p.m. March 8 Scotty McCreery, 7:30 p.m. March 8 Gaither Vocal Band, 3:30 p.m. March 9 Bret Michaels, 7:30 p.m. March 9 Blake Shelton, 7:30 p.m. March 10

dnicholson@tampatrib.com (813) 394-5103