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Fair facts

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[Times art: Rossie Newson]

The 99th annual Florida State Fair begins today and continues through Feb. 17 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

By Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 6, 2003


HOURS: Gates open at 9 a.m. daily. Closing times vary.

ADMISSION: $8 adult, $5 ages 6 to 11 and free for ages 5 and younger. Parking is free. Free shuttles are available on weekends from Tampa Bay Tech High School (Orient Road and Sligh Avenue). Shuttles run between parking and the entrance gate from 9 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Tickets for rides and concerts cost extra.

SPECIAL DEALS: Opening day special, armband for unlimited rides, $10 after 5 p.m. today; senior days, Tuesday through Feb. 13, admission $5 for ages 55 and older ; student days, $5 admission for grades K through 12 Friday and Feb. 17; ride armband days, Friday, Sunday, Feb. 14 and Feb. 16-17, unlimited rides for $20.

OTHER TIPS:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen.
  • No bottles, cans, coolers or picnic baskets permitted on fairgrounds.n Pets are prohibited. (Service dogs must be on a leash at all times.)
  • Credit cards are accepted at the gate and fair box offices, but not debit cards. ATMs are located outside the Special Events Center, on the west side of the Expo Hall, near the midway ticket booth, inside Entertainment Hall on the east side of the building and outside Entertainment Hall on the southwest corner.
  • Fair maps are available at Gates 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  • Strollers and wheelchairs are available for rent at all gates.
  • Write down where you parked and through which gate you entered. Trams run between all parking areas and the entrance gates.

Headline entertainment

Fair admission is required, in addition to concert tickets.

George Jones

  • Today
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George Jones.

Team Pop's favorite anecdote about Jones is the famous tale of him riding the lawn mower down to the liquor store after Tammy -- that would be the late, great Tammy Wynette -- took away the car keys.

However, Jones, 71, should be revered for his singing; he's the greatest male country singer ever, in our book. Since he first hit the charts in the 1950s, Jones' hurtful crooning has conveyed tales of the messy life -- drinking, drugging, divorce -- like no other. Classics such as Walk Through This World With Me, White Lightning, She Thinks I Still Care and He Stopped Loving Her Today still resonate. 7 p.m. $15-$20.

* * *

Rockin' Roadhouse Tour and Honky Tonk Tailgate Party

  • Fri.

Featuring country superstars Mark Chesnutt, Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, Rhett Akins, Daryle Singletary and Wade Hayes. 7 p.m. $15.

* * *

Latin Festival

  • Sun.

Featuring Ana Barbara, Jennifer Pena, Odalys Garcia, Area Code 305, Jose Alberto El Canario and more. 7:30 p.m. $15.

* * *

Boots Randolph

  • Tue.

Saxophone player Boots Randolph is something of a legend among country music aficionadoes. Folks claim that Randolph can make that ol' sax talk. Don't believe us? Hear his signature tune Yakety Sax. Raised in the hills of Kentucky, Randolph quickly became a sought-after studio player, blowing his horn on Roy Orbision's Oh, Pretty Woman, Brenda Lee's I'm Sorry (and her awesome Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree) and a slew of Elvis records. 1 and 4 p.m. $7-$10.

* * *

Patti Page

  • Wed.
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Patti Page

Did you know Patti Page makes pancakes? She does. The legendary Tennessee Waltz singer has for years produced all-natural Patti Page Products from her mountaintop home in New Hampshire. Back in the early 1960s, Page, 74, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on the same night those moptop Beatles made their American debut, and though she didn't shock the world as much, her popularity is undeniable. Page has sold more than 100-million records in her career, which began in Tulsa in the 1940s. Folks still adore her sublime renditions of Old Cape Cod, Allegheny Moon and, of course, Doggie In The Window. 4 p.m. $7-$10.

* * *

Stars of the Grand Ole Opry

  • Feb. 13

2 and 7 p.m. $7 and $10.

* * *

Ashanti

  • Feb. 14

Rising star Ashanti is the latest R&B powerhouse singer to knock us out with her great voice and sexy looks. The 21-year-old heated up the charts on duets with Ja Rule and Fat Joe. Last year Ashanti released her self-titled debut disc whose first single Foolish was another smash. 7:30 p.m. $10.

FREE DAILY ENTERTAINMENT AND EXHIBITIONS

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[Photo: Florida State Fair ]
Midway and food vendors.

Royal Hanneford Circus, times vary, in the big red tent near the center of the fairgrounds.

Commercial exhibits, in HealthExpo Hall, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Livestock barns, Ag Showcase, other exhibition areas, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Music, magic, juggling, comedy and other entertainment for the whole family, in the Tampa Electric Family Theater tent, near Gate 5.

Live music and theater, including the Spanish Lyric Theater from 6-9 p.m. nightly, in the Bacardi Cafe, between the Charles M. Davis Special Events Center and the Florida Living Center.

Wynn's Petting Zoo, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., on The Mall.

Purebred Dog Exhibition, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., just west of the Charles M. Davis Special Events Center, on the south side of the fairgrounds.

Cracker Country, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., live history museum with old-time craft demonstrations, music, blacksmith, gospel sings in the country church, train depot, post office, general store, wooden caboose and more, east side of the fairgrounds.

Rosaire's Royal Racing Pigs, three shows daily, in the Mall area.

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[Photo: Florida State Fair]
Racing Pigs.

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Exhibit, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., in the Big Red Barn.

Welde Bear Show, three to four shows daily, in the South Dome near the Florida Living Center.

Botanical Garden Railroad, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., inside Gate 2.

Florida Living Center, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., with exhibits of crafts, foods, plants and more, inside Gate 2, east of the Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.

Salute to Agriculture Tent, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., with "Mooternity Ward" with calves, baby chicks, hands-on activities. Adjacent to the Ag Hall of Fame, on the south side of the grounds.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.

Kachunga & the Alligator, alligator wrestling show, 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. weekends, near Lykes Arena.

Insect Encounter, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., in the Ag Showcase.

OTHER EVENTS TO WATCH FOR:

TODAY THROUGH SUNDAY: NASA's Benefits of Space exhibit, near Gate 1. The educational exhibit will continue as planned, but the fair authority will place a memorial wreath nearby in honor of the space shuttle Columbia astronauts. Fairgoers will be able to leave flowers or tributes in the area as well.

DAILY: Parade, 11 a.m. today, noon all other days, with marching bands, themed floats, giant stilt puppets, clowns, jugglers, antique farm equipment, more.

Laser Light Show, 9 p.m. Free.

FRIDAY: Knights Jousting, 6 and 8 p.m., Lykes Arena. Free.

SATURDAY: Hillsborough County High School Jazz Band Exhibition, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Entertainment Hall. Free.

Steve Otto Chili Cook Off, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Tampa Electric Family Theater. Free.

Knights Jousting, 6 and 8 p.m., Lykes Arena. Free.

SUNDAY: Fiesta Gigante, noon-5 p.m., entertainment hosted by Univision, with appearance by Rodrigo Vidal, star of Gata Salvaje, Entertainment Hall. Free.

Blacksmith Competition, 9 a.m., Lykes Arena.

MONDAY: Jimmy Hart's All-Star Wrestling with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Buff Bagwell, Norman Smiley, Nasty Boys, British Storm and Shane Twins, 7 p.m., Entertainment Hall. $15.

WEDNESDAY: Southern Pro Bull Riding, 2 and 7 p.m., Lykes Arena, Free.

FEB. 13: Irish Scottish Day, Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.

Southern Pro Bull Riding, 2 and 7 p.m., Lykes Arena, Free.

FEB. 14: Irish Scottish Day, Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.

FEB 15: Official State School & College Cheer Championships, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Entertainment Hall. Free.

Emerson Drive concert, 7:30 p.m., Tampa Electric Family Theater. Free.

FEB. 16: Official State All-Star Cheer Championships, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Entertainment Hall. Free.

FEB. 17: Official State School & All-Star Dance Championships, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Entertainment Hall. Free.

HORSE SHOWS AND COMPETITIONS

All are in the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center.

TODAY: Andalusian Horse Show, 10 a.m.; AMHA Miniature Horse Show, 10 a.m.; Mule and Donkey Show, 10 a.m.; Walking & Racking Show, 7 p.m.

FRIDAY: AMHA Miniature Horse Show, 10 a.m.; Walking & Racking Show, 1 and 7 p.m.

SATURDAY: AMHR Miniature Horse Show, 10 a.m.; Carriage Driving Competition, 11 a.m.; Rocky Mountain Horse Show, 9 a.m.

SUNDAY: AMHR Miniature Horse Show, 10 a.m.; Carriage Driving Competition, 11 a.m.; Rocky Mountain Horse Show, 11 a.m.

MONDAY: Mounted Police Competition, 9 a.m.

TUESDAY: Draft Horse/Draft Pony Show, 10 a.m.; Missouri Fox Trotter Show, 10 a.m.; Mounted Police Competition, 9 a.m.

WEDNESDAY: Draft Horse/Draft Pony Show, 10 a.m.; Missouri Fox Trotter Show, 10 a.m.; Mounted Police Competition, 9 a.m.

FEB. 13: Draft Horse Pull, 10 a.m.

FEB. 14: Exhibition Barrels, 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m.; Shoot Out Barrel Race, 2 p.m.

FEB. 15: IBHA Horse Show, 9 a.m.; Exhibition Barrels, 9 a.m.-11:45 a.m.; Barrel Race First Go, noon.

FEB. 16: IBHA Horse Show, 9 a.m.; Exhibition Barrels, 9-11:45 a.m.; Barrel Race Second Go, noon.

FEB. 17: Mounted Drill Team Competition, 1 p.m.

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