One of the Tampa Bay area’s favorite family traditions is back! This year’s Florida State Fair features more family-friendly events than ever before like a rare appearance by the popular Shopkins characters Kooky Cookie and Apple Blossom, interactive exhibits like feeding a giraffe or watching edge of your seat acts at the Circus Hollywood! Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out more about ticket prices.
You’ve got 12 days to experience one of a kind exhibits, live music and FOOD! (The Fair runs from February 9-20 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa). Our fabulous bookkeeper Kimberly McCluskey, who is probably the Fair’s #1 fan since she was a kid, went behind the scenes to get a sneak peek at what you can expect at this year’s Fair:
I entered through Cracker Country and it was very exciting with all the lights lit up on the ferris wheels shining in the dark night. Went to do a tasting in the open area by Guest Services and it was very lively as there was a live band playing from Branson, Missouri called Matt’s Family Jam. We met the father who started the band and the whole family has joined in. Their music was very upbeat, the type of music that everybody was either familiar with or just keeping time with their foot tapping to!
At Guest Relations, I was so impressed the the Fair had really covered their bases. The was a Baby Changing Station and Hand Sanitizing Station.
We enjoyed a lot of the Fair’s goodies from Corndogs to Steak Sundaes, to Gator Sliders and Florida Firecracker sliders. We had Cheesy Fried Enchilada Funnel Cake (the winner of the People’s choice award) and the Nutella Oreo Crumble Funnel Cake. The last tasting we had was Bacon Mac & Cheese Quesadilla. My favorite was the tried and true simple corn dog!
Played the Pokémon Water Game (shooting water into hole) and slid down the Super Slide. It was very exhilarating. After being given a blanket, you walk up a pretty steep plank to the top and slide down. Good fun!
We also toured the candy exhibit called “Sweet: A Tasty Journey”. It resembled Willie Wonka’s Candy Factory and gives you an inside look at the history of candy and how it’s made. We were shown around by Troy who is a Jelly Belly University graduate (awesome)! Troy got my husband John to play Bean Boozed. John spun a wheel and landed on Chocolate Pudding or Canned Dog Food which meant the jelly bean would taste like one of those flavors. Luckily, it tasted like Chocolate Pudding! However, on the second spin, he got Coconut or Spoiled Milk. Immediately his face grew sour and he wanted to spit out the jelly bean. He had gotten Spoiled Milk. Jelly Bellies come in many wonderful flavors such as Buttered Popcorn, which is now 25 years old. There are even adult flavored Jelly Bellies such as Beer and Margarita.
Besides the Jelly Bellies, there were so many other candies. The candy exhibit had a section “From Farm to Fork” which showcased how food was grown then eventually turned into candy.
Curious about what else to expect? There are several areas of live, interactive entertainment you can experience with your family for FREE, including:
Shopkins Character Meet and Greet, Sea Lion Splash, K9’s in Flight, Circus Hollywood Under the Big Top, Sweet: A Tasty Journey, Butterfly Encounter, Hollywood Racing Pics, Giraffic Park Exotic Menagerie, Florida State Fair Tractor Pull, Sunshine State Lawnmower Races, Budweiser Clydesdales, Vex State Robotics Championship, Florida State Fair Draft Pulls Championship and so much more!
(Photos courtesy of the Florida State Fair)
And then, there’s the food and drinks…
Highlights from this year’s Fair include the debut of the Alaskan Jerk Hut where you and the family can try malts, shakes, sodas and floats prepared by 1950’s inspired ‘soda jerks’. You’ll also want to save plenty of room to try the Cheesy Fried Enchilada Funnel Cake, Steak Sundae, White Cheddar and Bacon Pretzel Dog, and the Florida Firecracker-a burger with jalapeño poppers, bacon, cheese, pickle, lettuce and tomato!
Tickets information from floridastatefair.com:
ADMISSION – GOOD ANY ONE DAY OF THE FAIR
Adult (12 & up) $9 in advance.
$11 Monday through Thursday at gate.
$13 Friday, Saturday and Sunday at gate.
Child (6-11) $5 in advance.
$6 Monday through Thursday at gate.
$7 Friday, Saturday and Sunday at gate.
Senior (55+) $7 in advance.
$9 at gate on February 13-17.
Senior discounted ticket is good only on Seniorific Days, February 13-17.
Weekday Ride Armband* $20 in advance.
Weekday Ride Armband* $25 at gate.
*Weekday ride armband is only good on February 9, 13, 14, 15, and 16.
*Weekday ride armband may not be used on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Holidays.
Any Day Ride Armband* $30 in advance.
Any Day Ride Armband* $35 at gate.
*Any Day Ride Armband is good for any one day of the Fair.