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[Times files 1997]
The Florida State Fair is for all kinds of people, all kinds of music, even all kinds of animals.

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001


The Florida State Fair is for all kinds of people, all kinds of music, even all kinds of animals.

The 97th annual Florida State Fair begins today and continues through Feb. 19 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

  • Hours: Parking lots open at 8 a.m. daily. Gates open at 9 a.m. daily. Midway opens 11 a.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. weekends and Feb. 19. Closing times vary. Call (813) 621-7821 or check http://www.floridastatefair.com.
  • Admission: $7 adults, $4 for children ages 6-11, and free for children 5 and younger. Parking is free. Tickets for rides cost extra.
  • Special deals: "Senior Days," Tue. through Feb. 15. Admission $5 for ages 55 and older those dates only.

Other tips

  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen.
  • Strollers and wheelchairs are available for rental at all gates.
  • Write down where you parked and through which gate you entered.
  • Refrigeration for medication is available at the first aid booths.
  • Don't bring coolers or pets. Only service animals are allowed.
  • For more information: Call (813) 621-7821 or check http://www.floridastatefair.com.

Getting there

Headline entertainment

  • today: country singers mark chesnutt and clay davidson, 2 and 7 p.m.<>
  • Friday: Aaron Carter's Party, with Backstreet Boy little brother Aaron. 7 p.m.
  • Saturday: Hit Me With Your Best Shot rocker Pat Benatar. 7 p.m.
  • Sunday: Christian musician Jaci Velasquez with Plus One. 3 and 6 p.m.
  • Monday: Country acts Chad Brock and The Kinleys. 2 and 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday: The Platters with the Original Drifters. 2 and 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday: The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra with the Pied Pipers. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Feb. 15: The Opry Show with stars of the Grand Ole Opry. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 16: Country singers Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw. 2 and 7 p.m.
  • Though the rides, food and headline concerts cost extra after gate admission, many of the activities are free. Stroll among the livestock. Ooh and ahh over the quilts, crafts and canned goods. Listen to the strolling musicians. Watch the horse competitions. Check out old time Florida in Cracker Country.

Here are some of the freebies

Miller Lite variety theater

  • Texas the Band, music and comedy, 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. today-Sun.
  • Rick K. & The Allnighters, rock 'n' roll, country and pop, noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. today-Sun.
  • Dennis Lee Show, Elvis songs, blues, ballads and comedy, 1 p.m. daily throughout the fair. Also 6 p.m. today-Sun. and 4 p.m. Mon.-Feb. 19.
  • Leroy Van Dyke & Katrina Elam, singer of Walk On By performs with 17-year-old country singer. 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., Mon.-Feb. 15.
  • Jett Williams, country singer and daughter of Hank Williams Sr., performs many of her father's songs, noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Mon.-Feb. 17.
  • The Alley Cats, doo-wop classics, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., Feb. 16-19.
  • Entertainment Revue, young Tampa-based musical theater troupe, noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Feb. 18-19.

Children's stage

  • Daily: Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theater in Puss in Boots. 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.
  • Today-Tuesday: Caribbean Canines with exotic birds, performing dogs, juggling, magic and more. 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. And The Great Ape Encounter chimpanzee performance. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday-Feb. 19: Dr. Rock's Dinosaur Adventure travels back in time with puppets and live characters. 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. And Wildlife Wendy with her performing parrots. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Horse shows and competitions

  • Today: Mule and Donkey Show. 10 a.m., East Ring; Welsh Pony and Cob Show, 11 a.m., Grand Prix Ring.
  • Friday: Paso Fino Horse Show, 9 a.m., East Ring; Welsh Pony and Cob Show, 11 a.m., Grand Prix Ring; Pat Parellil's Natural Horsemanship Clinics, 7 p.m., Charlie Lykes Arena.
  • Saturday: Paso Fino Horse Show, 9 a.m., East Ring; Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Show, 9 a.m., West Wing; Carriage Driving Competition, 11 a.m., Grand Prix Ring; Pat Parellil's Natural Horsemanship Clinics, 7 p.m., Charlie Lykes Arena.
  • Sunday: Paso Fino Horse Show, 9 a.m., East Ring; Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Show, 9 a.m., West Wing; Blacksmith Competition, 9 a.m., Charlie Lykes Arena; Carriage Driving Competition, 11 a.m., Grand Prix Ring.
  • Monday: Andalusian Horse Show, 10 a.m., Pony Ring.
  • Tuesday: Andalusian Horse Show, 10 a.m., Pony Ring; Draft Horse and Pony Show, 10 a.m., Grand Prix Ring; Tennessee Walking Horse Show, 10 a.m. East Ring; Sheriff's Mounted Police Competition, 9 a.m., East and West Rings.
  • Wednesday: Draft Horse and Pony Show, 10 a.m., Grand Prix Ring; Tennessee Walking Horse Show, 10 a.m. East Ring; Sheriff's Mounted Police Competition, 9 a.m., East and West Rings.
  • Feb. 15: Quarter Horse Show, 8 a.m. East Ring; Sheriff's Mounted Police Competition, 9 a.m., East and West Rings.
  • Feb. 16: Quarter Horse Show, 8 a.m. East Ring.
  • Feb. 17: Quarter Horse Show, 8 a.m. East Ring; Miniature Horse Show, 10 a.m., Pony Ring.
  • Feb. 18: Quarter Horse Show, 8 a.m. East Ring; Miniature Horse Show, 10 a.m., Pony Ring.
  • Feb. 19: Open Pleasure & Speed Show, 10 a.m., West Ring; 3D Barrel Racing Show, noon, East Ring; Mounted Drill Team Exhibition, 7 p.m., East Ring.

* * *

Other events to watch for

  • Daily: Spanish Lyric Theater, 6, 7 and 8 p.m., Cafe Caribe.
  • Friday-Saturday: Baking competition, 11 a.m., Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.
  • Saturday: Florida State Fair Youth Fashion Show, 1:30 p.m., Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.
  • Saturday-Feb. 16: Jamm Balaya tropical music, noon, 2 and 4 p.m., Cafe Caribe.
  • Tuesday: Homer Stiles country music show, 1 and 3 p.m., Cafe Caribe.
  • Feb. 16-17: Clogging competitions, 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water Performing Arts Dome.
  • Feb. 17: Ballroom dancing competition, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.
  • Feb. 18: Exotic Bird Show & Sale, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.
  • Feb. 17-18: State All-Star Dance & Cheerleading competitions, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Entertainment Hall.
  • Feb. 19: Square Dancing exhibition, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Charles M. Davis Special Events Center.
  • Feb. 19: Country music by Angel Shumate, 3 and 5 p.m., Cafe Caribe.

Cracker country

This collection of buildings from rural Florida has a little bit of everything: baby animals to pet, bluegrass bands, broom-making, candle-dipping, soap and syrup making, a blacksmith and more. Buildings include a one-room schoolhouse, a country church, a post office, a general store and the 1885 home of former governor Doyle E. Carlton.

Daily entertainment includes the Southern Star Bluegrass Band from 3-7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekends.

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