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First Female Chairman of the Board Elected

PLANT CITY, Fla. (April 12, 2017) – Sandee Parke Sytsma was elected chairman of the Florida Strawberry Festival’s board of directors in last night’s monthly meeting.

Sytsma has served as a board member since 1995 and retired from Tampa Electric Company as a customer service representative. She succeeds Dan Walden who served in the position for the past two years. Floyd Hall was elected vice chair along with W.D. “Dub” McGinnes, who was elected secretary, and Phil Waldron, who was elected treasurer.

“I am truly honored to be elected to this position,” said Sytsma. “The festival is a special place to me and to my family, and I enjoy helping make decisions that ensure it’s a special place for all families.”

The board voted two weeks ago to rename three titles on the event’s board of directors and staff. The position of president changed to chairman of the board; the vice president is now vice chair; and the general manager is now president. Titles for the secretary and treasurer remain the same, and responsibilities for all offices and positions have not changed, said Davis.

The Florida Strawberry Festival’s board of directors is the governing body of the 11 day event and is made up of 30 individuals – 16 board members and 14 associate board members. Each year, four board members are elected to serve on the executive board made up of a chairman of the board, vice chair, secretary and treasurer. Generally, each president has previously served two years in each office before being elected to the highest office, said Davis.

“I am thrilled that our new chairman of the board is Sandee Sytsma,” said Davis. “She is a strong leader who has always looked out for the best interests of our patrons, and the Parke family has put their heart and soul in this festival for many years.”

The 2018 Florida Strawberry Festival is scheduled for March 1 through 11.

About the Florida Strawberry Festival

The Florida Strawberry Festival is an 11-day community event celebrating the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County.  Each year, over 500,000 visitors enjoy the Festival’s headline entertainment, youth livestock shows, exhibits of commerce and, of course, its world-famous strawberry shortcake.  The 83rd Annual Florida Strawberry Festival will be held March 1 through March 11, 2018 in Plant City, Fla. For more information, visit, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (#berryfest18).

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