For as long as I’ve lived in Tampa, Florida, the start of February has signaled the arrival of the Florida State Fair.
I looked forward to the annual Fair Day out of school to go and ride ridiculously crazy rides until I puked and play the midway games. I also loved stuffing my face with deep fried goodness and other fair food favorites.
And then I got old and my love affair ended. Even as a mom I only recall taking my own son a few times to the fair over the years. He always had a friend he could go with so I was off the hook.
But a couple of years ago, I was hosted by the Florida State Fair and my long lost love affair with the brightly colored midway, meat on a stick, and deep fried everything was rekindled. It was like meeting up with an old long lost friend.
I couldn’t go without a game plan so I polled some of my readers on Facebook for their favorite Florida State Fair foods. My foodie friends did not disappoint. Among the favorite contenders was the Amish Doughnut (now Peachey’s), the Doughnut Burger, and the traditional Funnel Cake (also the funnel cake with bacon).
Grab your appetite and your stretchy glutton pants and come along with me on my Top 10 Florida State Fair Food Favorites “Foodie Adventure”.
1. Doughnut Burger – The doughnut burger was an absolute must try according to my readers. It’s exactly what it sounds like. A burger with all of the trimmings sandwiched between 2 glazed doughnuts. It’s sinful and all types of wrong……and amazing.
Don’t ask me about calories because we shant speak of that anywhere in this post. Mmmmk? It’s definitely something you have to try at least once in your life. This is definitely my teenage son’s favorite.
**Look for the Carousel Foods trucks near Gate 3.
2. Teryaki Steak and Chicken On A Stick – I know it doesn’t sound extra adventurous but it’s one of my personal fair food favorite go-to snacks. It’s portable, you get to select your sauce of choice, and it’s grilled. What’s not to love.
3. Fried Oreos – Pictured are red velvet fried Oreos. You can also get the regular fried Oreos. Pick your poison. You can’t go wrong either way with this sweet guilty pleasure.
4. Peachey’s Baking Co. (formerly known as The Amish Baking Co) – This was the most recommended Florida State Fair food suggestion I received from my readers. I hadn’t ever heard of it and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
When I found the stand all I could say was wow that’s a big @$$ doughnut. It was warm and soft and just dissolved right in my mouth. Don’t wait…eat it immediately while it’s still warm! They do serve other items but I was so smitten by the giant doughnuts that I paid no attention to what else was on the menu.
5. Italian Sausage – If you have ever been to a fair anywhere you know that a grilled sausage with grilled onions and peppers is a fair food staple. In fact if I went to a fair and didn’t see at least one Italian sausage stand I would have major side-eye. This one was grilled perfection.
6. Tropical Wine Mix – This was recommended to me on my Facebook poll and she was so right! The tropical wine mix tastes so good and with temps in the 80s during the day it was a great way to cool off. They have two flavors, Tropical and Sangria, that you can sample or purchase in a cup. Tropical was my personal favorite of the two. They also have these flavors and others that you can purchase to take home to make your own. We won’t talk about how many samples I may have had.
7. Pork Chop On A Stick – It doesn’t get anymore literal than this. It’s a tender, juicy, well seasoned meatsicle. You’re welcome.
8. Kettle Corn – A sweet and salty fair food favorite. They are cooking up fresh kernels all day long so you can be sure you are getting a fresh batch.
9. Deviled Crab – Alessi’s bakery pretty much brought their whole entire kitchen to the Florida State Fair. They had many delectable items, but this deviled crab won us over. Just look at all of that crab meat! You can find them inside the expo hall.
10. Smoked Turkey Legs – Smoked turkey legs are the quintessential state fair food. Just look at these beautiful birds!
Reading this you would think that all we did was walk around and eat. That was the bulk of my activity but we also managed to ride a few rides too. The large blue and white ferris wheel was a nice slow ride with beautiful panoramic views of the entire fairgrounds. We also rode the swings that send you soaring around.
Florida State Fair Entertainment
In addition to those traditional rides and midway games we all remember, there are other experiences for guests included with the price of admission.
There’s the Sea Lion Splash, Sweet: A Tasty Journey, Circus Hollywood, Welde’s Big Bear Show, and Giraffe Encounters.
There are also pony rides and camel rides.
There is also a Black History exhibit from Hillsborough County Public Schools.
The Sea Lion Splash show is the only traveling sea lion exhibit of its kind. They are such adorable and intelligent animals to watch. Be sure to check for show times and add this to your plans.
Tips for Visiting the Florida State Fair
- Be sure to grab a map because there’s a lot of ground to cover.
- Weekends of course are busier than weekdays.
- Take advantage of $2 admission on Tuesdays.
- If you get the plastic souvenir drink container from a Lemonade stand you car return for cheap refills at the fair and at the Strawberry Festival.
- If you plan to ride more than just one or 2 rides, then purchasing the armband is definitely worth it.
- Stay hydrated and wear stretchy pants so you can eat to your heart’s content in complete comfort.
- Take a picture with the photo opp near the pond.
I was hosted by Florida State Fair with free admission, wrist bands, and food vouchers. This is my honest review of my experience. (Full Disclosures)