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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Former Strawberry Festival queen accepts proposal at Band Perry concert

PLANT CITY— Andrew McNair didn’t pick the most tranquil place in town to ask former Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Lauren Der to become his wife.

With the help of some festival officials, he surprised her on stage tonight just before The Band Perry started their show. He sneaked on stage when Der wasn’t looking, and dropped to one knee.

He had a microphone in his hand, so everyone heard the question — and her reply.

She said yes.

“I feel like the luckiest girl in the world,” Der said as thousands of people at the Wish Farms Soundstage cheered.

Der, 24, the festival’s public relations representative for a year, said she had no clue that McNair, a 26-year-old first lieutenant in the Marine Reserves, was even in town.

“It was a complete surprise. I’m totally in shock. I thought he was still (at the Marine base),” she said later.

Der said she met McNair about 4 1/2 years ago when they were both FFA officers. He belonged to a chapter in his native Texas and she belonged to one in Plant City. They struck up a friendship and started dating about a year later.

Der said she doesn’t typically go on stage at concerts, but never suspected when festival officials insisted she be on stage before The Band Perry’s show.

“They made all kinds of excuses but I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I was absolutely surprised and absolutely thrilled,” she said.

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