Campus News

Fun at the Florida State Fair

It’s that time of year again, when all of the rides, food, fun and entertainment make their way into Tampa Bay. The Florida State Fair has been around for over 110 years, and yet it still attracts visitors from around the nation to eat, buy and ride all day. The State Fair ran from Feb. 6 to Feb. 17.

If it’s fried or if it’s on a stick, it can be found at the Florida State Fair. This year, among the fried foods, there were also a number of new foods. This year’s most favored treats were the Ramen Noodle Burger (a burger placed in between two ramen noodle buns), cotton candy funnel cake, bacon maple funnel cake and sweet potato flavored ice cream. A lot of people could be seen carrying around mini gallon jugs (actually quarts) of iced tea.

At Expo Hall on the Florida State Fairgrounds one could find pretty much anything from arts and crafts to a brand new Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingray. Chevy had a big booth where they had most of their family cars on display. Other products on display in Expo Hall included mattresses, pianos, accessories for electronics, and safes.

One of the most popular attractions is Cracker Country, which is an outdoor museum located on the fairgrounds, and is open year-round. This museum depicts how Floridians used to live in the past. Among the things to see in Cracker Country is a blacksmith shop, a train depot, a cane mill, a smokehouse and a school house, which greatly represent how Floridians lived in the past and how they contributed to the economy in that time.

The rides never disappoint. Among them were three Ferris wheels, as well as plenty of dizzying rides. At night, all of the rides illuminated the area with their colorful lights. People also got sucked in by the many fair games available in hopes of winning a prize.

There were many exciting special events and exhibits happening during the fair, including an extreme sports show, racing pigs, baby animals in a “Mooternity” Ward, a fireworks show, an exotic petting zoo, and animal shows. Uncle Kracker, an American rock musician, was also performing a concert.

Admittance to the fair and buying tickets to ride the rides costs money. Parking is free, but admission is $10 on weekdays and $12 on the weekends. The average cost for a ride with tickets was $3 to $6, but the best value was to buy unlimited ride armbands, which were $15 to $30, depending on the day. The area would sometimes get congested with traffic, so parking could be a pain.

Amidst all of the food and fun, on the opening night of the fair many kids and teens ran wild, fought, robbed people and acted violently, which resulted in 99 ejections and 12 arrests. After one teen was ejected from the fair, he attempted to cross Interstate 4 and was hit and killed. Following these incidents, law enforcement cracked down on misbehavior.

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