Friends, family, colleagues and others in Florida’s strawberry industry showed their appreciation for a longtime strawberry grower by throwing him a surprise birthday — in the sky.

Giant strawberry marks Florida strawberry grower’s birthday
Courtesy Grooms family

A giant human strawberry marked the 60th birthday for Carl Grooms, president of Fancy Farms Inc., Plant City, Fla.


A giant human strawberry marked the 60th birthday for Carl Grooms, president Fancy Farms Inc., Plant City, Fla., on July 25.

Carl Grooms’ wife, DeeDee Grooms, and daughter, Kristi Grooms, invited more than 250 people to help celebrate Carl Grooms’ birthday.

Grooms’ friends dressed in strawberry red shirts and assembled in a field near Plant City awaiting a helicopter fly-over by an artist who makes giant living “paintings” of people.

DeeDee Grooms got the idea of the birthday surprise after seeing the artist’s work with a local school.

“A light bulb went off in her head and she thought, ‘what a great idea for Carl’s 60th birthday,’” Kristi Grooms said. “So, she hired (artist) Daniel Dancer to come to Plant City and surprise my dad with a giant strawberry.  He was completely surprised.”

Giant strawberry marks Florida strawberry grower’s birthday
Doug Ohlemeier

Carl Grooms (right) and Gary Wishnatzki, president and chief executive officer of Wishnatzki Farms, Plant City, Fla., examine strawberries last November. Friends through Grooms a surprise birthday party by forming a giant human strawberry.


Carl Grooms, who sells his strawberries through Plant City-based Wishnatzki Farms, started growing strawberries in the late 1960s after graduating from high school.

He founded Fancy Farms in 1974.  Grooms turned 60 July 22.

A video tribute to Grooms and his birthday can be found at Carl Grooms video.