The fun, excitement, rides, games, exhibits, and fantastic carnival food has been going strong at the Florida State Fair since 1904 when it was first known as the South Florida Fair. Along the way, the name changed to the Mid-Winter Fair and in 1915, became the Florida State Fair.
For many years, the fair was held downtown on 2 acres near the University of Tampa. For those of us who remember that time, the fair was "the" place to go. There were rides, shows, food, and some of the best Italian sausage sandwiches to be found anywhere in Tampa.
The Gasparilla Parade began at the fairgrounds, wound its way through downtown Tampa, and ended back at the fairgrounds. It was a busy place. The atmosphere hasn't changed but the fair and all it has to offer has gotten much bigger.
The current Florida State Fair resides on 350+ acres near I-4 meaning there's more than enough to keep folks busy for 12 days straight. The fair is always in February, come rain or shine, and this year it starts on February 7 through February 18. Gates open at 10am so you're good to go whether you choose to go morning, noon, or night.
You'll experience rides galore on the glittering midway, enjoy a star-studded concert lineup, peruse the exhibits, enjoy the equestrian center, watch scheduled livestock events, be entertained by strolling entertainers, and of course, eat and drink until you pop.
There is just too much to list but take it from someone who has attended throughout the years since back in the day, the Florida State Fair is still "the" place to go with friends and family for an overall good time, good food, and good music.