The 2019 Greater Hillsborough County Fair kicks off next Thursday, Oct. 17, for two weekends filled with excitement and entertainment.
As Florida slips fully into fall, Hillsborough County prepares to host its annual carnival at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds.
This year, the theme is “Let the Good Times Grow” and the fair will emphasize the many aspects of agriculture that make Tampa Bay so unique. To rev up anticipation for the event, the fair is introducing a new ambassador, Farmer Sydney, who will travel to local schools to deliver seeds and teach children how to plant their own personal gardens.
This year, local children have the opportunity to join Farmer Sydney’s Kids Club at the fairgrounds, which will come with an opportunity to meet Farmer Sydney, a fair food treat, a pumpkin and a hay ride.
The livestock shows, more than 800 animals on display and competing in a variety of show rings, market shows and sales, a horse show and a Soil and Water Conservation plant auction will rekindle a passion for agriculture for many in the community and offer a chance for local growers and animal enthusiasts to show off their skills in friendly competitions.
Everything from dairy and beef cattle to rabbits, goats, pigs and more will be on site. Attendees can check out the animals during the day and enjoy the sights of the impressive shows. This year, the plant show is Oct. 19 and the horse show is Oct. 20.
Some fair classics like the Robinson’s Racing and Swimming Pigs and the Firefighter show, where firefighter Neal Snyder puts young volunteers through training, will return. The Family Thrill Circus will also return for feats of strength and agility that will be fun for the whole family.
The annual FFA night is held Thursday, Oct. 24, and will feature competitions designed to showcase agricultural skills. All FFA members are welcome to attend.
One of the more unique events at the fairground is the much-anticipated rodeo, which is held Oct. 18 and 19. The event will feature bronco riding, barrel racing, bull riding and world-famous rodeo clown Hollywood Harris. It is sure to pack the grandstands, so get there early if you plan to attend.
The East Hillsborough County Historical Society will highlight the history of agriculture in the area with cane grinding, syrup boiling, a cowboy camp, a six-shooter gallery, storytelling and tool demonstrations. The Hometown Hillsborough building will also feature this year’s Rancher Roundup, 4H cooking competition and the Cattlewoman’s Cook-Off.
The Demolition Derby is Oct. 27 and will draw large crowds as everything on wheels crashes into each other until only one is left standing and declared the champion. The Truck and Tractor Pull is the featured grandstand event on Oct. 25 and 26.
Grandstand events are $10 following paid admission to the fair and the tickets can be purchased in advance at HillboroughCountyFair.com, or you can get a discount code from one of the cooperating merchant locations. With a code, your admission to the fair is free. A list of cooperating merchant locations and online sales are available online as well.
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, the fair will also feature a haunted hayride through the woods.
Due to last year’s success, the Hillsborough County Fair is bringing back its STEAM (STEM plus) area, which features educational displays and competitions in science, technology, engineering and math.
The entertainment pavilion is the perfect place to go to see some talented members of the community, including Born Lonesome featuring local artist Royce Burt, local churches for the Gospel Jam, the children’s pageant on Oct. 19 and the baby parade on Oct. 27.
If you wish to get in on the adventurous rides you can pick up an armband each day for $20. Discounted Ride Armbands can be purchased online for only $15 by going to the website. This year for the first time the fair is offering a Megapass, which includes unlimited admission and unlimited rides during the entire fair.
Dollar Days are Oct. 17 and 24, where fair admission is discounted to $1 and each ride is $1.
Gate tickets for regular adult admission is only $7, students K -12 are $5, seniors are $4 and kids age 5 and under are free.
The fair will run Oct. 17-20 and Oct. 24-27. See HillsboroughCountyFair.com for pricing information. OneBlood will park its Big Red Bus outside the main gate every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Donate blood, save a life and get one free admission ticket to the fair.