On the Radar: Florida State Fair gets loopy again Feb. 10-21

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For an old-school rustic blend, Leroy Van Dyke, Jim Ed Brown, Helen Cornelius, Moe Bandy, Joe Stampley and Bobby Bare star in The Country Gold Tour on Wed., Feb. 16. Concert tickets are $10. A separate gate admission ticket is required for entrance.

Fried food is always a main attraction. Added to the cholesterol cavalcade this year is mashed potatoes and gravy on a stick. Or try if you dare the grilled meatloaf sundae or -- better yet -- the hog-wild sundae, which sports pulled pork, coleslaw and tortilla chips drizzled with a chipotle barbecue sauce and topped with jalapeno peppers. Polish it off with a maple-bacon cupcake, French toast burger and ice-cream burger, a cheeseburger stuffed with fried ice cream.

A total of 106 rides dip you down and zip you around. New to the fair: the Daytona Kiddie Ride, the Riptide roller coaster and Remix – which takes you on a high-flying spin.

Suffice it to say, ride before you eat.

Feb. 10-21, Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa, $8 admission adults, $4 children 6-11 (ages 5 and under enter for free; $24 for a sheet of 30 ride tickets; $25 for an armband; floridastatefair.com. Pepsi Armband Days: Feb. 11 and 21.

It’s that time of year again — to get woozy on fast rides, swoon with your Valentine on the Ferris wheel and grab a deep-fried [insert odd food choice here] on a stick. Or just check out exhibits and contests, stroll through Cracker Country and two-step-it to country tunes. It's all amid the uniquely rural-urban fun-o-rama that is the Florida State Fair.

This year’s extravaganza offers the same ol’-same ol’ you love with some added bonuses. The WQYK Corndogs and Country show on Sun., Feb. 11, features Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols, Colt Ford, Sunny Sweeney and Brett Eldredge — at the 1-800 Ask Gary Amphitheatre on the fairgrounds; $20 plus fees. Tickets can be purchased at LiveNation.com.

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