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No funnel cakes at this year's fair

A livestock expo will be the only event at the new site on Sydney Washer Road. The rides return in 2007.

Published August 11, 2006

VALRICO - This year, the Hillsborough County Fair will undergo a transformation.

Held in the Raymond James Stadium parking lot since 1997, the fair has a new home on the northeast corner of State Road 60 and Sydney Washer Road in Valrico.

A former site for phosphate mining, the county-owned 60 acres is on lease to the fair for an annual rent of $10.

Hillsborough County commissioners approved the fair's use of $500,000 to develop facilities at the new site. The money comes from a trust fund set up to redevelop land mined for phosphate prior to 1975, said Tom Umiker, the fair's volunteer manager and coordinator.

The money will be used to develop access lanes to the site from SR 60. The land also needs potable water and sewer facilities.

"We don't know how far the money will take us," Umiker said. "The property is in pretty rough shape."

The 2006 fair will be a livestock exposition only. The land will not be ready in time for the traditional fair fare of rides and cotton candy.

The exposition will provide county children the chance to show cows, poultry and swine, in preparation for the competitions at the Florida State Fair and the Plant City Strawberry Festival.

"This gives a great many of them experience and a sort of trial run," said George Parker Jr., chairman and former president of the Hillsborough County fair board.

The livestock exposition will take place Oct. 27 through Nov. 5. It will be at the new site if the property is ready, Umiker said.

The rides and cotton candy will return in time for the 2007 fair.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at 661-2439 or

[Last modified August 10, 2006, 08:49:07]

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