The Hillsborough County Fair will hold the 2023 Harvest Awards on November 2, 2023. The annual event will be held during a luncheon at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds located west of Brandon on Highway 60 and Sydney-Washer Road. The program will officially kick off the 2023 Hillsborough County Fair which opens later that day at 5:00 p.m. The awards luncheon is complimentary, but advanced reservations are required by contacting the Fair Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.hillsboroughcountyfair.com.
The Harvest Awards were established by the Cooperative Extension Service to preserve the agricultural heritage of Hillsborough County and to celebrate those outstanding pioneers in the farming community. The Fair took over the awards several years ago.
2023 Harvest Award Recipients:
The Farm Family of the Year Award will be given to the Winfred Harrell Family of Plant City, FL. Winfred Harrell, and his family, own and operate Harrell’s Liner Farm which began in 1960. Harrell’s Nursery has grown to a major operation with over 145 employees. The nursery sells wholesale to distributors and retailers throughout Florida and entire east coast, as well as Texas and Puerto Rico. The Harrell family also continues to operate Harrell’s Liner Farm. The Harrell Family exemplifies the values of hard work, service and caring that has been a staple in Hillsborough County’s Agricultural Community.
D.A. “Doug” Holmberg will be recognized for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Doug is described as an educator, agricultural innovator, horticultural leader, and creative thinker. Doug resides in Lithia, FL and started as agricultural teacher at Horace Mann Middle School. Doug served as a President of the Hillsborough Ag Teacher’s Association and President of the State Ag Teacher’s Association. Doug also owns and operates Holmberg Farms, which produce citrus, tropical fruits and woody ornamentals. Holmberg has served the community including President of the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau, and active in many organizations.
The 2023 Outstanding Women in Agriculture will recognize Dee Dee Grooms of Plant City, FL. Dee Dee has been matriarch of Fancy Farms since it’s inception in 1974. Dee Dee has been involved in the annual 4-H Strawberry U Pick at Fancy Farms for almost 20 years. Dee Dee has been involved in supporting many in 4-H and FFA, as well as other youth organizations. Dee Dee works closely with daughter Kristi’s operation of Fancy Farms Market and can also be found still today in the farm office helping out.
The 2023 Outstanding Farmer/Rancher/Nurseryman will be awarded to Joe Sumner III. Joe is a 7th generation cattle rancher whose family came to Florida in the late 1800s and then in 1909 settled in southern Hillsborough County, where Joe still operates a cow calf operation with his wife Nikki and children Joey and Kayleigh. Joe also has one of very few true Cracker cattle herds left in Florida. Joe owns and operates a habitat restoration company that restores habitats throughout Florida back to their native state. He is very active in the community and strives to help less fortunate individuals in the south county area.
Fred Williams will be the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Public and Community Service Award. Fred has been a lifetime agricultural advocator and he has always been involved with the community. He served on the Florida FFA Foundation Board and led a capital campaign for the FFA Leadership Training Center while serving as President of the Board. He is the Cofounder of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce Pig Jam. Fred also serves on the Steer, Swine and Plant Sale at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The community is very fortunate to have Fred involved for so many years.
The Posthumous Memorial Awards will recognize Timothy Cribbs and Clyde Dixon Sr. for their involvement and service to agriculture and the community. Timothy Cribbs of Plant City was a 39-year Agriculture Teacher and Durant High School Department Head, Florida Strawberry Festival Livestock Judging Chair, member of the Florida FFA – where he served on the Board of Directors, and in their Hall of Fame, member of the University of Florida Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, and a member of the Georgia Hunting Club. He loved his family dearly, and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, hunting, and fishing, and was an avid fan of the Florida Gators.
Clyde Dixon Sr of Plant City was a Veteran of the United States Navy – having served in WWII and retired from careers in construction and crop insurance. Clyde was a longtime volunteer at the Hillsborough County Fair helping with many projects throughout the years and was always willing to help the youth in the county. He assisted with the Youth Dairy Program and helped many youth in the Hillsborough County 4-H Dairy Club.
In 2022 the Hillsborough County Fair began recognizing our Friends of the Fair for their continued support of the fairgrounds. The 2023 Hillsborough County Fair Friends of the Fair Awards Recipients are: Hillsborough County Sheriff Mounted Posse, Hillsborough County Cattlewomen, Commissioner Michael Owen, Central Maintenance and Welding, Pipe Pros, TEW Electric, Ed and Terri Kelly, ACME Barricades, Stepps Towing, McCullagh and Scott, Odiorne Insurance, Tampa Bay Times, IHeart Media, In the Field Magazine, America Show Camels, Bill Bartlett, Tampa Electric Co and Peoples Gas, Astin Farms and United Rentals. A Posthumous Friend of the Fair will be given to Robert McElheny.
Deadline for making reservations online is October 19, 2023. For more information on the luncheon or the fair, call the Fair Office at 813-737-3247. Presenting Sponsor for the 2023 Harvest Awards Luncheon is Mosaic Co.