The Pasco County Fair, which opens Monday, offers free daily entertainment, including a bear show, racing pigs, a hypnotist and a comedy swamp band.
As Florida celebrates 500 years of agriculture, this year's fair also is keeping with its roots with the theme: "Sow It, Grow It and Show It."
"There'll be plenty of showing off by youths who have raised livestock and plants for this year's fair," said Clark Converse, director of the non-profit Pasco County Fair Association Inc. and chair of the annual fair. "And there will be plenty of fun, with daily entertainment, a professional rodeo and the demolition derby. It's all free with admission to the fair … making it one of the best bargains around."
The seven-day event will run Monday through Feb. 24, at the 40-acre fairgrounds on State Road 52 in Dade City.
Some of the entertainment includes: A Grizzly Experience, a bear show; Robinson's Racing Pigs and Paddling Porkers; Fritzy Brothers, a one-man strolling circus; Ron Diamond, hypnotist, illusionist, and magician; The Sweeney Family Band, a comedy swamp band; The Butterfly Experience; and Melody Farm Follies, an animated vegetable farm show . There also is the Florida State Pedal Tractor Pulling Competition daily for ages 4 through 12, with the state finals Feb. 24.
Special highlights include the Showcase of Talent, 6 p.m. Monday; Rockin' with Elvis, with Billy "Elvis" Lindsey as a tribute artist, 7 p.m. Tuesday; The Little Roy and Lizzy Show, bluegrass music concert, 6 p.m. Wednesday; Gospel Music Night, featuring The Kingsmen Quartet and The Whisnants, 6 p.m. Thursday; Miss Heart of Florida Pageant, 7 p.m. Friday; Miss Pasco County Pageant, 7 p.m. Saturday; and Baby Pageant, 1 p.m. Feb. 24.
At the Miss Pasco County Pageant, two crowns are awarded: Miss Pasco County and Miss Pasco County Fair. The pageant is a preliminary for the Miss America Pageant. The winners go to the Miss Florida Pageant. The winner there advances to the Miss America Pageant. Contestants are judged in evening gown, talent, swimsuit, interview, and on-stage question. There is a $2 spectator admission, with gate admission.
The ninth annual Pasco County Fair Championship Rodeo, sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, is 7 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the rodeo arena in the back of the fairgrounds. The demolition derby, a Stoney Roberts Production, is 2 p.m. Feb. 24.
The fair also includes the Back Porch, where Pasco County adults display their homemade and hand-made items; Youth Exhibits; Art Exhibit; and Community Exhibits, as well as commercial booths in Higgins Hall and outside on the independent midway where everything from corndogs and cotton candy to leather belts and airbrush art are featured.
The Pasco County Fair begins at 1 p.m. Monday with the annual fair parade through downtown Dade City. The fair will open at 3 p.m. at the fairgrounds.
Hours are: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to midnight Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and noon to 7 p.m. Feb. 24. A complete schedule of events is available online at www.pascocountyfair.com.
Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 12. Parking is free. Tuesday features a special gate admission of $3 for all fairgoers.
More information is also available by calling the Pasco County Fair Office, (352) 567-6678.