Thrills, history and fried everything: The Florida State Fair

A Tampa Bay History Center exhibit adds some class to the fun this year.

click to enlarge ALL'S FAIR AGAIN: Chip Weiner's pics from last year's State Fair. - CHIP WEINER
ALL'S FAIR AGAIN: Chip Weiner's pics from last year's State Fair.

It's that time of year again — The Florida State Fair opens up at I-4 and 301, and this year it celebrates the 500th Anniversary of De León's arrival in Florida.

Channel the spirit of the infamous explorer and discover new exhibits and rides. Or catch some live entertainment and pillage your digestive tract with deep fried everything.

The 109th Annual event will feature new and exciting agricultural and cultural exhibits such as the new Discovery Center, a Tampa Bay History Center-curated exhibit and a traveling exhibit celebrating “Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making” hosted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Thrill enthusiasts (or is it death wish enthusiasts?) will also find another vast array of crazy carny rides, and games of little chance.

Bring home that stuffed manatee wearing a tuxedo! Do it!

The Florida State Fair begins Feb. 7 and continues through Feb. 18 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $8 for adults or $4 for children ages 6-11. Children 5 and younger get in free. Ride armbands cost $25.