As any true Floridian will tell you, there’s so much to explore in this wonderful state than just going to theme parks. There’s a huge variety of places to explore, foods to sample and fun to be had, and nothing combines all three of these elements better than events that celebrate the state’s agriculture. Florida’s lineup of fairs and festivals provides entertainment, education and good eats for all to enjoy. Be sure to add these events to your calendar – you don’t want to miss out.
Florida State Fair
February 6-17, 2020
Set in the heart of Tampa Bay, this 12-day fair attracts families from across the state to gather in celebration of agriculture, education and community. Each year, over 500,000 visitors partake in the fair’s offerings, generating more than $152 million in sales throughout the state of Florida. Popular attractions include North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel, over 200 food concessionaires, agriculture and horticulture exhibits, and Cracker County, Tampa’s only living history museum. History is an undeniable part of the fair’s heritage.
“The Florida State Fair was founded in 1904 and is celebrating 115 years of rich history,” says Cheryl Flood, executive director of the fair.
Flood invites Floridians to carry on that legacy by attending and sparking a new tradition. “With free parking, exhibits and entertainment all included with the price of admission, it’s affordable family fun at its best, and perfect for all ages.”
Clay County Agricultural Fair
April 2-11, 2020
A true agricultural celebration, this event has been a tradition in Clay County for over 30 years. Livestock shines brightly as the centerpiece, as 4-H and FFA youth display their hard work and compete in various animal shows.
The fair prides itself on being a “family affair,” according to Tasha Hyder, fair general manager. While enjoying a smoke- and alcohol-free environment, visitors can meander through Early Florida, a yesteryear village with over 20 buildings that will transport you back in time. There’s no shortage of things to explore: “When you come to the fair, you’re going to get a well-rounded experience, anywhere from goat yoga to a stroll through Early Florida to everything fried and on a stick,” Hyder says.
Monticello Watermelon Festival
June 19-20, 2020
Nothing says summer quite like a nice, juicy watermelon. Set in charming Monticello, this annual festival brings people together to celebrate both watermelons and community. From watermelon-themed art and photo contests to pageants that crown the Miss Watermelon Queen to watermelon measuring events, the iconic summer fruit is the main attraction. Everywhere you look, you’ll see greens, reds, pinks and whites as people dress up and decorate in watermelon colors. Other events include a rodeo, pancake breakfast, 5K, antique car show, and “wacky watermelon games,” not to mention the Ultimate Air Dogs Show, where dogs leap off docks and catch some serious air – so bring your
Key West Lobsterfest
August 6-9, 2020
Who doesn’t need an excuse to visit the keys? Key West Lobsterfest attracts visitors from all around, promising fresh lobster, cold drinks and great music. Simply put, this festival is a nonstop party that highlights one of Florida’s best-known agricultural commodities: lobster. Kicking off with a lobster boil and finishing with a lobster brunch, this weekend event cooks up some of the best-tasting lobster you’ll ever eat. You won’t want to miss the Lobsterfest Duval Pub Crawl charity fundraiser or the free street fair and concert, where vendors offer arts, crafts and delicious food for purchase as live music blasts from the main stage.