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Florida State Fair: Feb. 6-17, 2025

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Last updated on July 5th, 2024 at 09:27 am

Who doesn’t love the Florida State Fair?

From the livestock tents to the magical midway, circus acts and politicians, hot bands and local personalities — and food!

Lots of food!

And some of it is not good for you, which is, of course, the appeal of a state fair.

Florida State Fair
Florida State Fair Midway

Florida State Fair showcases history, agriculture

While boasting “the largest midway in the USA,” the core purpose of any state fair is to showcase the state’s agricultural products, farms, ranches and livestock.

Established in 1904, the Florida’s State Fair 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.

For info about exhibits & competition, go to floridastatefair.com/fair/exhibits-competitions


Fair food

Tired of plain old funnel cakes sprinkled with powdered sugar?

Perhaps you’ll want to put some pizzazz into it with hot barbecue rub and slather it with pulled pork! Too much? How about a slithering stream of cream cheese over the top to soften the blow. That’s better.

Looking for funnel cake with a little less tang? A variety of funnel cakes are new this year.

There’s the Lemonade Funnel Cake, the Banana Cream Pie Funnel Cake and even a Barbie Funnel Cake! (Of course there is!) Besides powdered sugar, you’ll be treated to Barbie pink icing and two kinds of sprinkles.

Meanwhile, Ken is lining up over at Seivers Smokehouse Grill for a Spicy Korean Corndog: hot dog dipped in buttermilk batter, layered with cheese and rolled in crushed spicy hot Cheetos.

Perhaps a pickle with all the trimmings? “I’ll have my pickles all the way, please.”

The Pop-Rock Pickle is a kosher pickle wrapped in a Fruit Roll-up, dipped in chocolate and rolled in your choice of Pop Rocks, Fruity Pebbles or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. I’m sure glad the pickle is kosher.

Personally, I think I’ll opt for Bacon Waffle Cheeseburger at Macken’s Slider booth with a side of Bacon Caramel Peanut Butter Apple Fries at the Apple Fries stand. Then I’ll wash it all down with a Jalapeno Lemonade.

Check out new food offerings here: floridastatefair.com/fair/food/

Entertainment

Roving one-man band, lumberjack demonstrations, pig races and circus acts, complemented by “World Jumping Rope Champions” are the highlights of this year’s fair.

What is Silent Disco?

2024 Musical entertainment: Will be updated when 2025 information is available

Entertainment is included in the price of admission.

For complete entertainment lineup, go to floridastatefair.com/fair/entertainment

Florida State Fair FAQ

Dates — Feb. 6-17, 2025

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm (Midway opens at 1 p.m. and closes 10:30 p.m.); Friday-Sunday: Friday-Sunday, 9 am to 9:30 pm (Midway opens at 10 a.m. and closes 11 p.m.)

Where — Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 North, Tampa, FL.

There are three entrances to the Fairgrounds: Orient Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and U.S. Highway 301.

How much are tickets to the state fair? (2024 info; will be updated as information is available)

  • Adult Advanced Admission: $11
  • Child (6-11): $7
  • Senior (55+): $9 (Valid M-F only)
  • Any Day Armband + FastPass: $54 (Valid one day only; Skip the line on Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
  • Any Day Ride Armband: $32 (Valid one day)
  • Weekday Armband: $22 (Valid one day, Monday-Thursday)

    Purchase tickets & armbands online: tickets.floridastatefair.com

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


Will there be fireworks?

Fireworks are scheduled on four weekend nights, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10, 2024, and Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 18, Feb. 24 (Monday, Feb. 19 is Presidents Day, the last day of the fair.)


Where to stay near the Florida State Fair

Hotels (Book online)

Holiday Inn Express and Suites (across the street from the fairgrounds)

Comfort Suites at the Fairgrounds (across the street from the fairgrounds)

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. (2 miles) Hard Rock entertainment during the state fair: Feb. 8 — Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons; Feb. 14 — Boyz II Men; Feb. 16 — Rod Stewart.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (2.2 miles from the fairgrounds)

More hotel choices near the Florida State Fairgrounds on Hotels.com

Campgrounds

RV camping at the fairgrounds is limited to vendors and staff in 2024.

Hillsborough River State Park. Camping, kayaking, hiking, biking and a humongous swimming pool are the top features of this state park straddling the Hillsborough River.

Best Camping near Tampa Bay. A roundup of Florida Rambler’s top public campgrounds in and around Tampa Bay, ideal for your visit to the Florida State Fair.

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


Things to do near the Florida State Fair

2024 Entertainment @ Seminole Hard Rock Casino
  • Feb. 8 — Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino
  • Feb. 14 — Boyz II Men at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino
  • Feb. 16 — Rod Stewart at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino

Go to seminolehardrocktampa.com for more information,.

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 seaworldparks.com/buschgardens_tampa

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.

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Comments Welcome

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  • Bob Rountree says:

    Hi Limda,
    There are so many events scheduled, we chose to select only every-day entertainment for this article. But your inquiry prompted me to add a link to the daily entertainment schedule, so thank you. The Demolition Derby, by the way, is scheduled for Friday, April 24, from 1-2 p.m.

  • Comments Welcome

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.