From unusual fried foods to crafts, animals and rides, the Florida State Fair offers a wide variety of fun

 The 2012 Florida State Fair opened this weekend in Tampa. It runs through Monday, Feb. 20. With rides, side shows, unusual fair food and blue ribbon competitions, there’s plenty to see and do in a full day!

This video gives a quick overview of the fair, and shows many of the thrill rides in action:

2012 Florida State Fair highlights - rides, foods, animals, crafts, rodeo

One of the best parts of the fair is the food! So many favorites. So many new things to try.

This stand is one of the most popular of the fair. I recommend the $7 combo, as seen on the sign.

The sticks are color-coded. The small item with the green stick is a fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. The other two smaller items are fried Oreo cookies – the cookie itself is softened by the process. The large item is a fried Milky Way bar. Don’t estimate how many calories are in this serving!

Another stand with a wide variety.

Fried Macaroni and Cheese! Delicious.

A fried swiss cheese on rye sandwich. This one had a thin perfectly crispy outer layer.

Note the variety of items at this stand. Fried peaches and cream?

Another stand with a wide variety to try.

Some of the conventional food at the fair.

The fair has multiple expo buildings with vendors and exhibits.

Homemade candies for sale.

Hand-crafted miniature homes.

A beautiful table in the handcrafted furniture exhibit.

Some of the award-winning entries in the various competitions.

One of the products of Florida agriculture is wine.

These are some of the entries in the competition from small Florida vineyards.

Grapes are not the only fruit you can make wine with. Here are some Florida blueberry wines.

The Florida Grape Growers Association hosted a sale of unusual wines from 36 states and 11 countries as a fundraiser. Note the unusual wine from Pennsylvania in the inset.

When you live in a city, and spend your weekends at the attractions, you lose sight of how much of Florida is devoted to farming.

This unusual chicken seems like it could be from the ice planet Hoth, from the Star Wars movies.

A section of the fairgrounds has a collection of relocated buildings from when Florida was a frontier.

These buildings date back to about when Elias and Flora Disney got married in Kismet, Florida (1888). Their sons later built Walt Disney World, and a very different looking Main Street USA.

A dry goods store. From 1891 and relocated from Ft White.

The relocated Okahumpka train station. You may know the name Okahumpka from driving on the Florida Turnpike, north of the Orlando area.

A house from 1885, relocated from Wauchula.

The State Fair midway also has some classic side show and carnival entertainment, with a history dating to the 1800s.

It was standing room only for pig racing.

What used to be kewpie dolls for prizes in carnival games are now Angry Birds.

A fun house, a different kind of Haunted Mansion.

An unusual-looking ride, with arms that dive in-and-out as they spin, and spin around.

Some of the carnival rides are duplicates.

You’ll lose track of how many Ferris Wheels there are! Here’s just three.

Here’s ride ticketing information. Many of the rides are six tickets each.

The Forida State Fairgrounds are located at 4800 US Hwy. 301 North in Tampa. Fair admission is $12 for adults with free parking. See for more information.


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