Always in February and always in Tampa, the Florida State Fair is a signature event on the Gulf Coast. This year the 12-day event runs from Thursday, February 5 through Monday, February 16. You may know or have heard about the mouthwatering fair food, the big-name entertainment, the thrilling rides at the Midway, the cute farm animals and the living history found at the state fair each year.
But there may be a few things you don’t know or that are new for the 2015 Florida State Fair. So, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you probably didn’t know; but we think you should. Read on!
Did you know…
1. The Florida State Fair is the first state fair of the year.
It’s a trendsetter. A standard to which other state fairs set the bar for the year. If something is a big hit here at the fair, you’ll most likely see it in other areas of the country, too.
2. The Florida State Fair is over 100 years old.
At the writing of this blog post, it’s 111 years old to be exact. The first Florida State Fair was held in 1904 and some of the same traditions can still be found there today. To give you some perspective about that first Florida State Fair, Teddy Roosevelt was president, the American flag had 45 stars, and the average wage was a whopping 22 cents an hour. Some things have definitely changed since that first fair. Another little known fact about that first state fair is that it was held on a little 27-acre plot of land, which was formerly part of the Tampa Bay Hotel and is now part of the University of Tampa.
3. There are over 111 FREE things to do at the Florida State Fair.
That’s one free thing for every year the fair has been in existence. The state fair puts a focus on family-centered fun, offering something for everyone of every age. This year features free concerts, free exhibits and free admission days. There is a lot of free stuff to go around, so come and experience it for yourself.
4. This year the Florida State Fair offers FREE concerts.
Oh yes, you heard it here! This is the first year the fair is offering free concerts, and we’re excited about that. On the concert lineup are The Charlie Daniels Band, Lazy Bonez, The Fifth Dimension, and Beatlemania Live.
5. The Wall That Heals Vietnam War Memorial & Museum premieres.
This free exhibit is a Florida First event. From February 5-9, this traveling exhibit offers a scaled replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Don’t miss it!
6. 9/11 Never Forget Traveling Museum premieres.
Another Florida First event, this traveling museum honors those who sacrificed during the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Guest rescuers from the New York City Fire Department are on site to give their chilling, first-hand accounts. This free exhibit runs from February 10-16 and is a must-see.
7. The Florida State Fair offers a lot of free and discounted admission days.
A lot. The State Fair offers promotions on a daily basis, so there’s plenty of discounts to go around. The opening and closing days of the fair salute our local heroes by offering free admission to military, police, firemen and first responders. The fair offers additional discounts for students, seniors, 4-H members and more. It’s worth checking out the Florida State Fair Daily Promotions page in advance to see what discounts can be found.
8. New Student Day regulations in effect at this year’s Florida State Fair.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that there are going to be new rules and regulations for the fair’s popular Student Day. To help better manage crowds and provide important safety measures for the benefit of everyone, there are some new changes regarding this discounted admission day. The new regulations can be found on the back of the Student Day admission tickets or you can watch the short clip about the new Student Regulations for the 2015 Florida State Fair below.
9. Buying tickets in advance saves you 30% at the Florida State Fair.
We’re still on the topic of discounts here. Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance for extra savings. A 30% discount is nothing to sneeze at, you know. Hurry, the State Fair is almost here! Advance ticket purchases are available at your local Walgreens only until February 4, but they can also be purchased online here.
10. Battle of the burger at the Florida State Fair.
We’re ending this list on a very tasty note. Did you know that there is a battle of the burger going on at the state fair? Well, we should say that there was. Voting has already ended but we eagerly await the results, which can only be found by going to the Florida State Fair and reading the Carousel Food’s menu. Out of five new burger creations, only two will make it onto the coveted Carousel menu selection chosen by the people and for the people.
In the running for People’s Choice Burgers at the Florida State Fair are:
Burger of the Gods: topped with brie, bacon, and an apple maple compote.
Deep Fried Oreo Burger: fried on the griddle then dredged through Oreo cookie batter and deep fried. Add bacon, glaze and crumbled Oreos.
Holiday Burger: topped with Havarti cheese, bacon, stuffing, sweet potato fries and a cranberry-orange marmalade sauce on a toasted bun.
Jalapeno Crusted Burger: twice fried and coated with a corn chip and jalapeno mix until crispy. Then topped with shredded Mexican-style cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
Parmesan Crusted Burger: twice fried and coated with a potato chip and Parmesan/Romano cheese mixture until crispy. Then topped with bacon and a Parmesan mayonnaise sauce.
But the real question is, will any of them kick the Krispy Kreme burger from the top spot? It’s the best-selling burger on their menu. (Two Krispy Kreme donuts cradle the beloved burger, taking the place of boring buns on this baby.) We’re routing for the deep-fried Oreo burger! We think it stands a chance at vying for the new best-seller on the menu. (Who else is really hungry right now?) Three cheers for fair food. Yum!
Will we see you at the 2015 Florida State Fair? We hope so! If so, let us know! Happy fair-going!