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Eight things to do at the Florida State Fair — besides the rides

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Fair-goers needing a break from one too many turns on the Tilt-a-whirl can find more fun — and solid ground — at the fair’s many agricultural exhibits, according to faculty at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

“Agriculture has always been an important part of the Florida State Fair, and nowadays exhibits offer a chance for visitors to see a bigger picture of what a food system looks like, and where their food comes from” said Sarah Hensley, UF/IFAS Extension 4-H state specialized agent for youth curriculum and evaluation.

“It’s also an opportunity for our 4-H youth to show off their skills and hard work, whether they’re showing a steer, talking with the public at an ‘ask me’ booth, or mingling with legislators during the Governors Luncheon,” Hensley said.

Here are eight things you don’t want to miss at this year’s fair in Tampa, Florida, held Feb. 8 to 19. For specific times and locations, please see the Florida State Fair event calendar.

  1. Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame

This permanent fair exhibit showcases the impact of various scientists, farmers and other leaders on Florida agriculture — a special treat for fans of Florida state history.

  1. 4-H Dog Show

More than 90 4-H youth will compete in this three-part competition testing showmanship, obedience and agility. Participants have trained with their canine companions throughout the year to master commands, an obstacle course and more.

  1. Livestock competitions

4-H and FFA youth will be busying showing off their prize-winning animals, and judging horses, cattle, sheep and swine.

  1. Horse contests

If you enjoy seeing horses in action, these contests are for you. This crowd-pleasing event features youth competing in various performance classes.

  1. Chicken and rabbit barn

Those who like animals of the small, cute variety will find much to coo over in the chicken and rabbit barn.

  1. Ask Me booths

Have a burning question about an animal species you saw at the fair? One of the very knowledgeable 4-H youths staffing the “Ask Me” booths can help. Booths can be found throughout the fair’s livestock barns.

  1. Family Living Center

Not into animals but love all things hearth and home? The Family Living Center displays the handiwork of youth and adults. Competition categories include horticulture, baking, canning, fiber arts and more.

  1. 4-H Global Education display

Visitors will learn about opportunities for 4-H participants to travel overseas and stay with a host family. As part of the program, Florida 4-H youth will host 12 students from Japan this summer.

Ongoing events:

  • Ag Hall of Fame building
  • Family Living Center
  • 4-H Global Education display
  • Ask Me booths
  • Livestock barns

Scheduled events:

Event Time(s) Location
Youth beef showmanship/show Feb. 9, 9 a.m.

Feb. 12 & 13, 10 a.m.

Charlie Lykes Arena
FFA/4-H livestock judging contest Feb. 10, 9 a.m. Charlie Lykes Arena
FFA/4-H horse judging contest Feb. 10, 1:30 p.m. Charlie Lykes Arena
4-H Dog Show Feb. 10, 6 p.m.

Feb. 11, 9 a.m.

Charlie Lykes Arena
Youth rabbit showmanship Feb. 10, 9 a.m. Rabbit and Poultry barn
Youth swine show Feb. 11, 12 p.m. Charlie Lykes Arena
Youth steer show Feb. 14, 7 p.m. Charlie Lykes Arena
Youth Boer goat show Feb. 14, 10 a.m. Charlie Lykes Arena
Youth poultry showmanship Feb. 15, 9 a.m. Rabbit and Poultry barn
Youth llama showmanship Feb. 16, 5:30 p.m. Charlie Lykes Arena
Youth poultry showmanship Feb. 16, 9 a.m. Rabbit and Poultry barn
Youth llama performance Feb. 17, 9 a.m. Charlie Lykes Arena
Youth sheep show Feb. 17, 11 a.m.

Feb. 18, 11 a.m.

Goat/sheep tent
Pygmy goat show Feb. 17, 10 a.m.

Feb. 18, 10 a.m.

Swine/Pygmy goat tent
Youth dairy show Feb. 17, 9:30 a.m.

Feb. 19, 9:30 a.m.

Charlie Lykes Arena

 

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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

 

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