Who doesn't love a fair? There is something about the lure of a bustling midway with its unique sights, sounds and smells. Nothing can match the thrill of the stomach-churning rides or taking a chance at the midway games. But, the bottom line? It's all about the food. It's surely where gastrointestinal nightmares are born, but who can resist the cotton candy, ice cream and things fried that you never thought of frying?
Florida residents are fortunate to have 50 chances each year to take advantage of one of the best entertainment values around — county fairs — 51 if you count the Florida State Fair. County fairs can be found throughout Florida — from the rolling hills of the Panhandle to the sandy shores of South Florida — and they highlight the communities where they are located... making each different. Besides the midway, livestock competitions and exhibits, agricultural exhibits, arts and crafts and live entertainment provide an exciting day for the entire family.
While every county fair is unique, there are a few standouts. The Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition ranks as one of the largest and most successful fairs in the nation and attracts over a half-million visitors every year. For over 60 years, the all-youth Southeastern Youth Fair in Ocala is where young people have showcased their 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) skills; but, one of the most popular components of that fair has to be the two-day Florida High School Rodeo, where young cowboys and cowgirls show off their roping and riding skills. The Florida Strawberry Festival provides outstanding exhibits, low-cost nationally acclaimed entertainment... and, of course, plenty of those tasty red strawberries.
While fairs offer good entertainment value, there are a few cost-cutting measures available to save even more:
- Take advantage of advance ticket sales, often available online and at special ticket offices.
- Save a bundle on packages that include admission, ride wrist bands and drink coupons. These are often only available in advance.
- Look for special offers and coupons available in newspapers, restaurants, etc.
- Take advantage of special days. Often fairs offer special admission discounts to children, seniors and special interest groups on certain days. Some days may even be set aside as free admission days for kids.
- Park at an off-site lot and ride free shuttles.
- Pack a picnic lunch or carry a few healthy snacks and a bottle of water.
Find a Fair
Fair dates and locations are listed below:
September, 2013Baker County Fair (Sept 27 - Oct 5) - Macclenny
Central Panhandle Fair (Sept 30 - Oct 5) - Panama City
Northwest Florida Fair (Oct 7-12) - Fort Walton Beach
Walton County Fair (Oct 7-12) - DeFuniak Springs
Greater Hillsborough County Fair (Oct 16-20) - Brandon
Northeast Florida Fair (Oct 17-27) - Callahan
Pensacola Interstate Fair (Oct 17-27) - Pensacola
Alachua County Fair (Oct 18-26) Gainesville
Greater Holmes County Fair (Oct 28 - Nov 2) - Bonifay
St. Johns County Agricultural Fair (TBA) - Elkton
Columbia County Fair (Nov 1-9) - Lake City
Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair (Nov 6-17) - Jacksonville
North Florida Fair (Nov 7-17) - Tallahassee
Volusia County Fair (Nov 7-17) - DeLand
Broward County Fair (Nov 21 - Dec 1) - Pembroke Pines
Manatee County Fair (Jan 16-26) - Palmetto
DeSoto County Fair (Jan 17-26) - Arcadia
South Florida Fair (Jan 17 - Feb 2) - West Palm Beach
Polk County Youth Fair (Jan 25-31) - Bartow
Charlotte County Fair (Jan 31 - Feb 9) - Port Charlotte
Florida State Fair (Feb 6-17) - Tampa
Highlands County Fair (Feb 7-15) - Sebring
Hendry County Fair and Livestock Show (Feb 14-22) - Clewiston
Martin County Fair (Feb 14-22) - Stuart
Osceola County Fair (Feb 14-23) - Kissimmee
Hardee County Fair (Feb 15-22) - Wauchula
Pasco County Fair (Feb 17-23) - Dade City
Southeastern Youth Fair (Feb 23 - Mar 2) - Ocala
Chalo Nitka Festival, Glades County Youth Livestock Show and Frontier Days Rodeo (Feb 24 - Mar 1) - Moore Haven
Florida Strawberry Festival (Feb 27 - Mar 9) - Plant City
Central Florida Fair (Feb 27 - Mar 9) - Orlando Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair (Feb 27 - Mar 9) - North Fort Myers
Saint Lucie County Fair (Feb 28 - Mar 9) - Fort Pierce
Alachua County Youth Fair (Mar 6-11) - Gainesville Suwannee River Fair (Mar 6-19) - Fanning Springs
Okeechobee County Fair (Mar 11-16) - Okeechobee
Sumter County Fair (Mar 7-15) - Bushnell
Bradford County Fair (Mar 11-16) - Starke
Collier County Fair (Mar 13-23) - Naples
Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition (Mar 13-30) - Miami
Firefighters' Indian River County Fair (Mar 14-23) - Vero Beach
Sarasota County Fair (Mar 14-23) - Sarasota
Putnam County Agricultural Fair (Mar 21-29) - East Palatka
Citrus County Fair (Mar 24-30) - Inverness
Flagler County Fair (Apr 2-6) - Bunnell
Clay County Agricultural Fair (Apr 3-12) - Green Cove Springs
Lake County Fair (Apr 3-12) - Eustis
Hernando County Fair (Apr 4-12) - Brooksville Santa Rosa County Fair (Apr 4-12) - Milton
Levy County Fair (Apr 10-13) - Williston
Suwannee County Fair (Apr 11-19) - Live Oak
Brevard County Fair (TBA) -Melbourne