by Lauren Wong
The annual Florida State Fair opened its doors on Feb. 7 and will run until Feb. 18 at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Heading into 2019, the fair is celebrating 115 years of great food, rides and entertainment. The fair will also be featuring Uka-PALOOZA for the first time.
Uka-PALOOZA is a ukulele festival that took place on Feb. 9 and incorporated Hawaiian culture for people with varying musical talent.
The Florida State Fair gives people in and around the Tampa Bay Area a chance to see all aspects of Florida culture. From the livestock exhibitions to the new cuisines, the options are endless.
“Growing up in Rhode Island, I had nothing even close to the opportunities that the Florida State Fair provides,” said Collin Ahearn, freshman economics major. “I am so excited to be able to experience a side of Florida that I have yet to see in my time here in Tampa.”
Prior to attending the fair, check the official website, floridastatefair.com, to find ticket deals and a calendar outlining daily events.
“Watching the joy of children and adults alike when they enter the gates of the annual fair helps to remind me why I do what I do,,” said Michael Rogalsky, Assistant Manager of the Florida State Fair Authority. “It is a lot of hard work, and long dedicated hours to make the fair come to life. But the memories many are able to make because of it makes it worth it.”
Since the fair is only eight miles from UT, it creates a convenient weekend trip for students.
“The minute you enter the gates of the fair it feels like it takes you back in time, with the old Florida roots aesthetic , as well as feeling like a kid again,” said Haley Nowowiejski, senior biology major.
Always looking for ways to improve and update the annual event, the fair authority dedicates time to visit various fairs throughout the country, networking with staff to see what they’ve done and what they can change. With their goal being to keep the public interested and wanting to come back, they are always open to hearing any suggestions from their annual visitors.
Lauren Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org