Florida State Fair

The Zero Gravity ride at the Florida State Fair. / Photos contributed

The Florida State Fair, for Feb. 9-20 in Tampa, is a great event — made even better when you enjoy Florida State Fair discounts. Keep reading to find out about this annual event — and about great ways to save.

Held at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa, the fair features a midway, carnival, livestock shows, agriculture exhibits, equestrian events, arts and crafts, live concerts and more.

What began as a simple event in 1904, held on the property of what now is the University of Tampa, had only a few agricultural exhibits. In 1915, articles of incorporation were filed for the event, then known as the South Florida Fair and Gasparilla Carnival. In 1975, the Legislature officially named the Tampa event the Florida State Fair.

Some things haven’t changed since 1915. Competition is still stiff for awards such as Prized Bull, Best Pie and Most Beautiful Quilt. Midway rides still provide thrills, and chills, for riders.

Delusion will certainly keep your stomach churning.

And don’t forget the food, some of which is … unusual. Examples? The Pizza Cone, the Redneck Burger, Bacon Ice Cream. What more could you want? Oh, yes — discounts.

How to save money to the Florida State Fair

Florida State Fair discounts are many and varied. Ways to save range from up to $4 off the regular admission price to the Any Day Ride Armband ($30 in advance, $35 at gate), good for unlimited terror … er, rides … on any one day.

Buy advance tickets and armbands, through Feb. 8, online (www.floridastatefair.com) or at your local Walgreens (www.walgreens.com/storelocator/find.jsp?).

Regular admission for adults (12 and up) at the gate is $11, Monday-Thursday; and $13, Friday-Sunday. Or buy tickets in advance for $9.

Of course, to save even more, you could bring family and friends and come as a group. An adult ticket for groups of 25 or more (tickets must be bought all at once) costs just $8.

Seniors (55 and up) who buy tickets at the gate are admitted for $9 during Seniorific Days (Feb. 13-17). Or they can buy a ticket in advance for $7.

At-the-gate tickets for kids 6 to 11 cost $6, Monday-Thursday; $7, Friday-Sunday — but $5 in advance.

More discounts to Florida State Fair

If you love the thrills that the midway can offer, here are even more chances to save money.

The Weekday Ride Armband is $25 at gate. Save $5 by buying the Weekday Ride Armband in advance, for $20. This armband is good on Feb. 9 and Feb. 13-16 (cannot be used Friday-Sunday or on holidays).

Or buy the Any Day Ride Armband — good for any one day of the fair — for $30 in advance. Cost at the gate: $35.

Each ride armband voucher is valid for one armband. Take the voucher to any midway ticket booth to get your armband. Pay one price and ride all day.

More good news: Parking is free!

For more information, www.floridastatefair.com.