February 7-18, 2013
The year was 1904. The American flag had 45 stars, Theodore Roosevelt was president and the average American earned just 22 cents an hour. That year, what would be later known as the Florida State Fair opened its gates in Tampa. Since then, there has been incredible inventions, wars, social change and musical styles that have rocked each generation. Still, the Florida State Fair remains a showcase of the best the state has to offer.
Fairgoers can enjoy a spacious midway that provides more than 100 rides and games and there is nothing like fair food — cotton candy, ice cream, and things fried that you never thought of frying. Exhibitors come from all over the state to continue the tradition of showing off their handiwork, children participating in 4H and FFA are eager to show their skills and animals, and a visit to the Florida State Fair isn't complete without stepping back in time in Cracker Country — a rustic turn-of-the-century village.
In the fall of 2010, it was decided that the use of a changing theme from year to year would be eliminated in favor of a consistent slogan that best represents the Florida State Fair brand. The Florida State Fair's new slogan is "The Best Time of the Year!" Indeed, the slogan captures the essence of the brand as a 'must see' event that should not be missed.
While some headline entertainment for the 2013 Florida State Fair is free, regular fair admission is required. Some shows require a special ticket in addition to fair admission. Special shows and entertainment includes:
- Monday, Feburary 11 - Starship featuring Mickey Thomas Concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Entertainment Hall. ($15 VIP seating, $10 reserved seating and limited FREE Mezzanine level bleacher seating.)
- Tuesday, February 12 - Bellamy Brothers Concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Entertainment Hall. ($15 VIP seating, $10 reserved seating and limited FREE Mezzanine level bleacher seating.)
- Wednesday, February 13 - Country Gold Tour at Noon and 4:00 p.m. in the Entertainment Hall. ($15 VIP seating, $10 reserved seating.)
- Thursday, February 14 - Less Than Jake at 7:30PM in the Entertainment Hall. ($15 VIP seating, $10 reserved seating and limited FREE Mezzanine level bleacher seating.)
- Monday, February 18 - LeAnn Rimes Concert at 7:30PM in the Entertainment Hall. ($35 VIP seating, $30 premium reserved seating and $25 reserved seating.)
Of course, free attractions and performances both indoors and out are on tap daily throughout the fairgrounds, including daily parades, bands and crafts and returning favorites.
Admission & Information
Advance admission tickets for the Fair will be on sale beginning in January 2013 at Walgreens and Sweetbay Supermarkets (throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, DeSoto and Highlands Counties) through early February; or online. Save by purchasing advance tickets. Midway ride tickets, armbands and concert tickets do not include fair gate admission.
Free and discounted admission is offered on the following days:
- Thursday, February 7 - Opening day is "Hero's Day," with all active, reserve and retired military veterans, law enforcement, firemen and first responders admitted FREE with valid identification.
- Friday, February 8 - "Student Day" is where all Hillsborough County students receive a free ticket for admission. Also, bring an empty Diet Mountain Dew can and save $5 off the regular price of a Midway ride armband.
- Saturday, February 9 & 16 - All 4-H and FFA members admitted free!
- Monday thru Thursday, February 11-14 - Senior Days admit seniors ages 55+ for $8 at the gate or $6 in advance online or at the Fairgrounds Box Office.
- Monday, February 18 - "Student Day" for students in counties surrounding Hillsborough County to receive free admission. Also, bring an empty Diet Mountain Dew can and save $5 off the regular price of a Midway ride armband.
DirectionsThe Florida State Fair is located just seven miles east of downtown Tampa with access via I-75, I-4, Hwy. 301, and Martin Luther King Blvd (Hwy. 574). Parking is FREE with wheelchair accessible parking spaces available at each gate. There is a FREE weekend park and ride shuttle service that runs continuously between Highland Oaks (I-75 at Hwy. 574 Exit) and the entrance gate from 9:00 a.m. until midnight.
Gates open daily at 9:00 a.m. The Midway opens at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and Friday through Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Expo Hall is open from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily. Most other exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Cracker Country is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
The Florida State Fair is presented in association with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Charles H. Bronson, Commissioner.