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Florida Strawberry Festival attendance: 526,100

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Published:   |   Updated: March 27, 2013 at 01:45 PM

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PLANT CITY -

More than 526,000 people visited the Florida Strawberry Festival during its 11-day run, a slight improvement over 2012.

Festival officials say attendance was 526,100, compared with 525,300 the previous year.

Attendance in the first few days of the festival was hampered by cool weather, but warmer temperatures on the last two days, March 9 and 10, brought out record single-day crowds. The final weekend’s attendance was nearly 190,000, including almost 100,000 on the final day.

“It was a banner year for us,” General Manager Paul Davis said.

Sold-out shows on the festival’s final day by Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton contributed to the influx of visitors, he said.

Davis said the festival plans to meet with law enforcement agencies and the state Department of Transportation next month to figure out ways to better handle the traffic around the festival grounds on days of heavy attendance. Festival traffic and crashes led to gridlock on some key roads the final day.

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