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Florida State Fair Is Set To Begin, With COVID-19 Precautions

The Florida State Fairgrounds begins its transformation from empty lots to bustling carnival rides and games.
Thomas Iacobucci/WUSF Public Media
After being postponed in February due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Florida State Fair is returning in April 2021.

The fair will open on April 22 with fair food, fun rides, and live music — but with a few new policies to address COVID-19.

With average annual attendance of 500,000, the Florida State Fair is a staple for many Floridians.

But while fairgoers can still expect the crazy culinary concoctions, wild rides and daring entertainment acts of past years, the fair has had to adapt for COVID-19.

Florida State Fair officials say it has prioritized safety, but urges guests to attend only after evaluating their own health risks. They also warned that by purchasing a ticket and entering the fairgrounds shows, that those attending understand and are willing to undertake the risk of exposure.

The fair, which was postponed in February due to the pandemic, will run from April 22 to May 2 at 4800 U.S. Hwy. 301 N.

Beyond their warning, the Florida State Fair has implemented several COVID-19 safety measures to reduce the risk.

COVID-19 Policies:

  • There will be hand sanitizer stations and hand washing stations throughout the fairgrounds.
  • For security reasons, the fair will be conducting bag checks, so to prevent bottlenecking and to speed up the check-in process, officials recommend limiting items and purchasing tickets in advance.
  • To limit contact, the fair has made cashless payment options available.
  • All guests over 5 years of age must wear face masks at all times, indoors or outside, except when eating or drinking.
  • Social distancing will be encourages, including in lines, in exhibits, at food and beverage facilities, at shows, and in restrooms.

The gates will open at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends, and will close at 10 p.m. each day. The Midway opens at 1 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 a.m. on weekends.

Tickets are available at participating Publix stories and on the fair’s website. Basic admission for adults is $9, $5 for children 6to 11 and $7 for seniors 55 and older. These tickets will allow fairgoers to access most shows, entertainment and exhibits, but tickets for rides must be purchased separately.

Beyond the Midway, the fair offers plenty of fun for the whole family. There is more than a fair share of exciting and unique foods, such as the Deep Fried Rainbow Cookie and the Flaming Hot Cheetos Funnel Cake. To check out a full list of the fair’s fare, click here.

Attendants can burn off all those calories during the Deep Fried Dash 5k on May 1st at 7 a.m. For a less sweaty but equally heart-racing activity, fair-goers could attend the Fire Guy’s show, where he juggles, eats, and breathes fire. Or check out Daredevil Daze 2.0, where performers ride a motorcycle on a high wire. Find the full list of featured entertainment here.

For those more faint of heart, the fair will have three outdoor stages with live music. The list of performers and their schedules are on the fair's website.

For those seeking a more educational trip, the fair has a variety of exhibitions that offer unique learning experiences. Visitors can explore the Cattle Ranching Museum to learn about more than 500 years of ranching traditions, or experience work from award-winning artists in the World of Lego exhibit. For a list of all the exhibits, click here.

Elizabeth Kauma is the WUSF social media intern for the spring of 2021.
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