PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A fiddle-playing Tampa native is coming home and returning to the stage at the Florida Strawberry Festival this year.
“I was born and raised in Tampa and always came to the Strawberry Festival to listen to the music, the music is great,” performer Stephanie Ann said. “I, always being a musician, always liked going to the concerts and all that. And of course the strawberry shortcake, it’s really good.”
She left the area to study classical music in Baltimore before getting her masters degree in Texas.
After deciding she wanted to perform while living in Nashville, Stephanie Ann traveled all over with Whispering Bill Anderson of the Grand Ole Opry.
“But I also got to perform with people like Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Hamlisch, all great performers, monster performers,” she explained.
When Stephanie Ann got pregnant and gave birth to her son, she decided it was time to slow down and spend every minute she could with him.
“But we decided, my husband and I decided, to go back to where I was born and raised with family,” she said. “Wanted to be near my family, so we ended up back here and I started teaching private violin lessons and all that. Not performing so much, but just teaching, teaching a lot.”
Now that her son is 16, she’s back to performing. It took a little convincing from another Strawberry Festival performer to get her back into it, but now she’s back on the festival stage.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I am open to doing whatever I can with performing because I think I got it in me. It’s burning in there! The fire is lit so we’ll see what happens,” Stephanie Ann said with a smile.
She thinks the festival is getting better every year.
“The shows are fantastic on the Wish Farm stage. The food is wonderful. Everybody’s saying that there’s not a lot going on anymore at fairs, that fairs are going down, and nuh-uh-uh,” she said. “When you come to Strawberry Festival, it is so exciting. So I’m glad to be apart of it, glad to say that I’m performing at the Strawberry Festival.”
You can catch The Stephanie Ann Show – bringing classical music, jazz, country and even a little bit of Irish music – to the Smithfield Strawberry Tent at noon, 4 and 7 p.m. every day of the festival.
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