Florida State Fair! Find Your Fun in Tampa, FL

We’re a little more than a week away from the Florida State Fair. The rides, the food, the shows! Here’s all you need to know to plan your visit to the Florida State Fair in Tampa. 

Fast facts about the Florida State Fair

  • This year’s event is Feb. 10-21, 2022, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa
  • It is the first state fair to be held in the United States each calendar year
  • The first fair was held in downtown Tampa at Henry B. Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel in 1904
  • In 1915 the fair combined with Tampa’s Gasparilla Carnival to become the biggest, best, most-deep-fried event of the year (according to the Florida State Fair itself)
  • In 1977 the Florida State Fair moved to its current location (330 acre Florida State Fairgrounds off I-4)
  • The World Wars cancelled the fairs in 1918 & 1942–1945
  • 500K attendees annually (average over a decade)
  • 90+ midway rides (largest midway in North America)

So what can you expect at this year’s fair?

I don’t know about you but I go to the fair for the shows and the junk food (fried fruit kebobs are partially healthy, right?) With a strong agricultural program, a circus, interactive animal exhibits (have you ever fed a giraffe?) and games, a visit to the Florida State Fair is a must during its 12-day run.

Watch animal shows, equestrian events, livestock shows, visit Cracker Country (replica 19th centure pioneer village) and more.

We’ve highlighted a few of the things we hope to check out when we visit. Discounted tickets are available online at floridastatefair.com or full-priced tickets can be purchased at the gate the day of your visit. All events subject to change. Check the Florida State Fair Web site for the most up-to-date information.

Keeping you entertained at the Florida State Fair!

The entertainment at the fair this year includes a bull-riding and cowboy stunt rodeo show, circus acrobatics, a freestyle Jet Ski show, countless musical acts, a diving show, magic and even pig racing. Here are some of our must-see events at the Florida State Fair.

  • Great American Petting Zoo (Salute to Agriculture): No barriers once inside the enclosure. All of the animals run freely
  • Hollywood Circus (Outdoor Mall): A classic circus under the Big Top with a new, modern twist
  • High Dive Show (Admin Pad): A classic high dive show featuring springboard and tower diving
  • Dennis Lee Band (The Florida Stage): Band blends musical favorites, comedy, country music, old time Rock n' Roll and Patriotic numbers
  • Jay Mattioli Magic (Five Points Stage): One of the youngest magicians in history to be recognized by his peers as a two-time champion of stage magic
  • Wall of Death (Midway Sky Eye Pad): A vintage live action thrill show featuring a 30-foot silo-shaped wooden cylinder
  • Fire Guy (Welcome Center): Watch as Brant, the Fireguy, shows his expert skills in fire juggling, fire eating, fire breathing and dire performing!
  • Pork Chop Revue (Entertainment Hall Pad): Watch these bundles of bacon jump hurdles, waltz and even sing! But these pigs don't race, they're too smart for that. (There is a separate racing pig at the fair.)

Stuffing your face at the fair!

We can’t walk past the cotton candy vendor, the corndogs and the fresh lemonade without stopping. But every year the food vendors at the Florida State Fair offer new and unique food offerings. Remember deep fried Oreos? Donut burgers? Here are a few NEW food items scheduled to be at the Florida State Fair this year.

  • Funnel cake taco (The Best Around): A taco shell dipped in a buffalo batter funnel cake mix, fried golden, filled with buffalo chicken dip; topped with lettuce, cheddar cheese, ranch, and cool ranch Doritos crumbles!
  • Deep fried banana pudding (DeAnna's Steak Sundaes): Donut holes topped with banana pudding and whip cream & caramel drizzle on top
  • Poutine sundae (DeAnna's Steak Sundaes): Fresh-cut fries topped with fresh cheese curds covered in gravy. Option to add sirloin steak.
  • Caramel apple cinnamon roll (Grandma Brown’s Cinnamon Rolls):  Grandma Brown’s Original award-winning cinnamon roll recipe since 1970, topped with warm cinnamon apple pie topping, then drizzled with warm caramel
  • Cookie dough explosion (Funky Flamingo): Starts with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, which is topped with creamy salted caramel gelato, then two huge scoops of cookie dough, all covered with hot fudge, caramel sauce and whipped cream. Last but not least, Oreo cookies to top it off!
  • Bacon caramel apples (The Apple Cart): A crisp Granny Smith apple covered in rich house-made caramel, rolled in real bacon bits. Also available drizzled in chocolate!
  • Deep-fried fruit kabobs (Cinnamon City): Dipped in their secret batter and sprinkled with powdered sugar

Take a spin!

Before you stuff your face with fried foods, take a spin around the country's largest Midway. From a Ferris Wheel to bumper cars to mini roller coasters, there is a little something for everyone. There is also a large selection of kiddie rides. Discount ride armbands can be pre-purchased before Feb. 10 or bought at the fairgrounds.

Note: Photos and descriptions are courtesy of the Florida State Fair

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