I love midway rides. I have since I was tall enough to ride them. I remember being so scared of some of them that I would clench my eyes so tight that the muscles in my face would hurt. I also remember that as soon as my feet were firmly back on the platform, all of that fear and anxiety would instantly transform into the youthful exhilaration fueled by adrenaline and sugary treats.
Even today, I get those tingles anytime I strap on a seatbelt or pull down the restraint bar. Now that my son is tall enough to ride all but a few of the attractions, I can’t wait to share those moments with him. I won’t even make fun of him if he has to close his eyes on some of them.
The Florida State Fair, which has been held in Tampa every year since 1904, returns to the Florida State Fairgrounds from Feb. 8 through the 19. If you are a thrill-seeking fan of midway rides, this is the perfect event for you. Covering fifteen acres, the Florida State Fair boasts the largest Midway in North America with 110 different rides.
Tickets can be purchased at the Fair Box Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at any participating Publix Supermarkets in the Tampa Bay area or online at www.floridastatefair.com. Advance admission tickets are $9 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 11. Unlimited ride bands start at $20 for weekdays and $30 for weekends. Keep reading to find out how you can win passes along with armbands to this year’s event.
Even if rides aren’t your thing, there is plenty to do this year for all age levels and interests. Musical acts this year include Country Gold Tour, Kazual, Screaming Orphans, Fuel on Fire, Dennis Lee, Vocal Trash and local Tampa bands including Kenzie Wheeler, Reverend Barry & the Funk, Alex Lopez, Nathan Hager, Taylor Reed and many more. For a full schedule of performers, please visit www.floridastatefair.com
In 2018, the Florida State Fair is unveiling thirteen new attractions including meet and greets with Paw Patrol and Rusty Rivets; Teen Stars Live; Florida State Fair Dance Championships featuring stars of Dance Moms; Little Farm Hands presented by Mosaic; BMX/FMX Freestyle Madness, The Ninja Experience, Mini Monster Trucks and so much more.
Of course, there will also be plenty of the standard fair fare to keep you entertained like petting zoos, agricultural exhibits and art displays. And don’t forget about the food. Some of this year’s culinary highlights include a Surf N Turf Sundae, Southern Catfish Sundae and Barbeque Pulled Pork Ribbon Fries.
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