By Lauren Saslow

It’s nearly time for the Florida State Fair, featured annually in Tampa at the Florida State Fairgrounds. While the State Fair will run February 4-15, guests can save money by purchasing advanced tickets now through Wednesday, February 3 for general admission, special events and rides.

Located on 330 acres, there are 112 things to see or do during the State Fair. According to the State Fair’s website, the top five reasons why people attend are: food, rides, entertainment, exhibits and displays, and to see the animals. Included in the price of admission are shows at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center and access to the Mildred W. and Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. Cracker Country Historical Museum. The average attendance comprises 450,000 guests annually during the 12-day event.

There will be a Salute to Heroes on the first day of the Fair, Thursday, February 4, when all active and retired military are allowed free entrance. 

On Friday, February 5, all west Hillsborough County Public School students will have a non-school day as the State Fair welcomes them to attend.

The Taste of the Fair is scheduled for Monday, February 8. Senior days are Monday through Friday, February 8 through 12. Senior programming will include line dancing lessons, financial advisement, dementia and Alzheimer’s information, introduction to recreational vehicles (or RVs) and Medicare fraud.

Executive Director of The Florida State Fair Authority, Chuck Pesano, is a Valrico resident and has worked in this position for over 11 years. With this year’s subtheme, So Much More to Explore, he described several new attractions of interest.

“We are very excited to introduce the brand new outdoor Coca-Cola Headline Musical Stage where the featured musicians will perform,” he stated. “For the first time ever, we will host the State Robotics Finals for grade school through college-aged students. A new Butterfly Exhibit in the Agricultural Hall of Fame Building will allow guests to walk among thousands of butterflies. We also partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools to offer a new exhibit in the Florida Center saluting Black History Month.”

The Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 U.S. Hwy. 301 N. in Tampa. For more information, call 800-345-FAIR (3247) or visit

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