Last updated on May 31st, 2019 at 12:27 pm


2016 Florida State Fair
2016 Florida State Fair

While boasting “the largest midway in the USA,” the core purpose of the Florida State Fair is a showcase of Florida’s agriculture industry and its history.

Established in 1904, the event wasn’t designated the state’s “official” fair by Florida legislators until 1975, setting the stage for its move from downtown Tampa seven miles east to its current 355-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 4 and U.S. 301.

Cracker Country farm at the Florida State Fair
Cracker Country farm at the Florida State Fair

A must-see for history buffs is Cracker Country, a living history museum that tells the story of the settlement of Florida during the 1800s by cattle ranchers, who got the name of “Crackers” by the sound of the whips they used to drive cattle from the Carolinas and Georgia into Florida.

The museum re-creates an 1890s rural Florida town with original buildings dating from 1870 to 1912, which were relocated to the fairgrounds from across the state.  During the fair, costumed “interpreters” portray the daily living experience of Florida’s pioneers.

While many consider carnival rides and corndog concessions the highlights of the fair, the overriding mission is to showcase the state’s agriculture industry – from the cattle that still roam Florida’s prairies to the fruits and vegetables that serve as the nation’s winter garden. The best in the state are showcased in the fair’s pavilions.

The fair operates under the umbrella of the Florida Department of Agriculture, although the event is self-supporting and relies on income from entry fees, concerts, rides, sponsorships and vendors to survive.

Florida State Fair Fast Facts

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Dates: Feb. 6-17, 2020

Location: Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 North, Tampa, FL.

GPS: 27°59’22.35″N × 82°22’15.73″W

2019 Admission: 

Adult (12 & up); $11 Monday through Thursday at gate; $13 Friday, Saturday and Sunday at gate.
Child (6-11) $6 Monday through Thursday at gate; $7 Friday, Saturday and Sunday at gate.
Senior (55+) $9 at gate only on February 11-15.

Any Day Ride Armband* $35 at gate (good for any one day of the Fair). (Discounted to $25 at gate on February 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, ).

Gold Access Armband  Upgrade ride armband with Gold Access to skip the lines on midway rides, an additional $15.

To purchase tickets online, go to

Daily Entertainment is FREE and included in the price of admission. Exceptions may be possible in 2019.


2019 hours

10 am to 9 pm — Monday-Thursday. Midway opens at 1 p.m. and closes 1-1/2 hours after gates close.
9 am to 9:30 pm — Friday-Sunday & President’s Day. Midway opens at 10 a.m. and closes 1-1/2 hours after gates close.

For more information, visit the Florida State Fair web site at or call 1-800-345-FAIR.

Lodging Options

Hotels near Tampa

RV Camping Options

Florida State Fair Campground. Karian Fogle, Electrical/Camping/Box Office Supervisor. Email: or call 813-627-4360; Sharon Hanna, Electrical/Camping/Box Office. Email: or 813-663-3663

Best Camping near Tampa Bay. Here’s a rundown of Florida Rambler’s top nine campgrounds in and around Tampa Bay, ideal for your visit to the Florida State Fair.

Lithia Springs Park. Scenic campsites, natural environment and a cool, clear spring.

Other things to do near Tampa:

Pinellas Trail: On the west side of Tampa Bay is one of the most progressive and appreciated rails-to-trails projects in all of Florida. The 37-mile Pinellas Trail starts in Tarpon Springs and runs south through downtown Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, Pasadena, ending in St. Petersburg. We have two articles for more information: Scenic window to another world and Treasured St. Pete bike trail

Busch Gardens: The Gulf Coast’s only theme park, Busch Gardens is a whole bunch of fun. Take a safari on the Serengeti Plains, or experience the thrill of your life on the SheiKra roller coaster. Visit the web site at

Ybor City: Once the cigar capital of the world, Ybor City retains much of Tampa’s old city charm and Latin flavor. Restaurants, art galleries, pubs and cafes, and you can still see Tampa’s famous cigar makers practicing their trade. Explore by foot for the best experience.

Fort Desoto: Even if you don’t camp here, you’ll want to go to the beach here. Fort Desoto’s beaches consistently rank among the Top 10 beaches in America.  Read these Florida Rambler articles: Fort Desoto Park and Camping at Fort Desoto

Spring Training: Spring Training camps open up in the Tampa Bay area during the fair. The Yankees, Blue Jays and Phillies all have camps nearby. See our 2018 Spring Training Guide with schedules, ticket information and things to do nearby.

Thai market and brunch at a Tampa Buddhist Temple: When visiting Tampa, one of the most intriguing experiences is an open-air Sunday brunch at a gorgeous Buddhist temple — Wat Mongkolratanaram, or Wat Tampa for short.

Caladesi Island State Park: This island with an award-winning beach is great kayak destination. Read about kayaking to Caladesi Island.

Honeymoon Island State Park.

Five favorite places to go paddle boarding in Tampa. For paddle boarding, it would be hard to find a better destination than Tampa Bay.

More from Florida Rambler

The Withlacoochee: One of Florida’s most scenic kayak trails

Dade Battlefiled: Lovely Spot to reconsider history

Scenic Roads: A Drive through Old Florida cow country


One Comment

  1. Avatar

    Id like to be bob. Great info. Very helpful. Thank you.