Food, fun and family are at the center of a new Florida State Fairgrounds event.
The aptly named Discover the Food Festival, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, will showcase what some of the region's best food and drink establishments have to offer. It acts as an expansion of the Food Truck Festival that's been hosted annually at the fairgrounds for the last three years.
About 75 vendors — many of them restaurants-on-wheels — will be featured, including The Twisted Indian, Tiki Tea, What Up Dog, Big Crush Slush Company, Monsta Lobsta and YoYo Juice. Gasolina Urban Blends will serve ready-to-drink cocktails with various spirits. And brews are set to come from three sources: Coppertail Brewing Co., whose brewmasters will be on hand to recommend food pairings, Pepin Distributing, and Budweiser's "beer garden experience," a mobile bar with TVs, a digital kiosk and phone-charging stations.
Until 5 p.m. Saturday, the Cracker Country living history museum will be open for free, allowing guests to tour historic buildings and grounds that represent life in rural Florida communities before the 20th century. Here, they can expect music, hands-on crafts and demonstrations of old foodways like open-fire cooking, butter churning and salt extraction. There's a lineup of live entertainment (think children stories by the Hillsborough County Public Library and local music) and a Kid's Fun Zone planned for the event's two-day run as well.
Parking is $6 per car, and $12 per RV or bus — cash only. Guests should use the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard entrance at Gate 2.