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For the past 2 years in a row, we’ve had the privilege of attending the Florida State Fair at the Fairgrounds in Tampa. You may have missed out on the state fair this year, but you can still attend a variety of other large events there throughout the year. Click HERE to see the Florida State Fairgrounds event calendar. And check out our thoughts below, so you can prepare for next year.

Both years we attended were on holidays, so we anticipated this year’s visit to be like last year in terms of crowd size. Last year, we attended in the afternoon and it was pretty busy. This year, we actually found that it is not very crowded when the fair first opens up the gate. You can walk towards the back of the Midway and line up for some of the rides that are sure to have lines later in the day. For the most part, we made it through tons of rides without having to wait long.

Many of the rides take 6 or more tickets, so investing in the unlimited arm band for $35 is the most economical option if you plan on going on the rides. This year we rode the Midway Eye, which is the largest traveling ferris wheel. The view was phenomenal, and there is a bit of open air  feel.

I’m not much for big rollercoasters, so #mymister & Papo usually go on without Dittles & I. Unfortunately for Papo, you had to be 53″ to ride the biggest coaster, so he had to seek out some other rides and coasters that his 52″ frame was permitted on.

Of course, I had to hop on the carousel with Dittles. Though mid-way into my selfies, I was informed that this particular carousel was for kids. They did have another larger one that allowed adults to ride the horses. I felt like such a baddie.

While the boys took on some of the more thrilling rides, Dittles opted to re-visit the Surf’s Up ride she had taken last year. She had it all to herself this time. We ended up riding way more rides than them. You’ll find that a lot of the rides have duplicates or similar alternatives, so that the lines stayed smaller.

Being from NY, it was almost mandatory to stop by the NY Funhouse. By far, this is the biggest and most fun of all the funhouses they had there.

You can opt for the large slide with the bumps, or the large slide with the twists. Our kids opted to ride on both, and both use potato sacks to speed things up. Can you see the excited look in Dittles’ eyes as she arrives to the bottom with her mouth ajar?

In addition to many rides, you will also find many other attractions and shows, such as feeding & petting live animals. This llama caught my eye as she seemed particularly adorable.

Despite what this picture might look like, the giraffe is not eating my hair. I managed to snag some pretty nifty selfies with this big guy, who boasts a lot of personality. Just watching him munch away made us hungry, so we headed to one of the many, many food locations to grab a bite to eat.

Oh, and here are a few more thoughts and tips:

  • Remember to bring your sunscreen with you so you can re-apply. The sun beams down on you for hours on end, unless you are indoors.I made the mistake of leaving my sunscreen home and my arms and face turned red like a lobster. The kids were fine since they had the long-lasting, ultra-high spf kind.
  • Stay hydrated, as the sun will also dry you out. They actually allow you to bring in clear plastic water bottles, so you can bring some along with you.
  • Wear comfy shoes that you won’t mind getting a little dirty. I thought I was slick by wearing cowboy boots, but the comfort began wearing off after a few hours of walking. Sneakers are the way to go.
  • Bring cash. Many of the vendors only accept cash, so stop at the bank before heading over.
  • If possible, visit more than one day. There is so much to see and do, that it is literally impossible to do in just one day. You could do one amusement ride day and one special events day.
  • Go early. As I mentioned before, the lines are shorter earlier in the morning.

Get Social with the Florida State Fair


Florida State Fairgrounds at
Florida State Fair Authority
4800 U.S. Highway 301 North
Tampa, FL 33610
And mark your calendar now for next year’s Florida State Fair  being held February 7-18, 2019!


Disclosure: We were not monetarily compensated for this post, but we received tickets and other amenities for sharing this review. All opinions expressed are our own.