As the milder weather settles into Florida, the number of fairs and festivals start to pick up.
The bulk of the festival season basically runs from October through March – not coincidentally, the time of year other places can’t hold fairs and festivals because it’s too cold outside. That’s not the case in the Sunshine State, where the mild temperatures make it the perfect place to have outdoor fun.
While the biggest festivals are in the spring, the fall also has some excellent choices. And of course if you can’t wait for the big fairs at the beginning of next year, you could always build a fair of your own in the backyard.
Otherwise, here’s a list of events worthy of your attention.
The Hillsborough County Fair. One of the quickest upcoming Florida fairs is held from Oct. 22-25 and Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 and the theme this year is “Blue Jeans and Country Dreams.” The fair features a huge midway as well as livestock shows, concerts and competitions. The fair is held in Dover.
Conga Caliente Festival. Taking place Nov. 1 in Al Lopez Park in Tampa, the festival is known for its amazing Hispanic food and fun music. It’s been named one of the best festivals in Tampa and is very family friendly.
Ribfest The annual festival at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg will be held Nov. 13-15. As the title suggests, you can sample some of the best ribs you’ve ever tasted at this event. There’s also good classic rock – this year’s lineup includes America, Three Dog Night and .38 Special.
Novemberfest. Set for Nov. 18-22, this fair is one of the biggest fairs in the Tampa Bay area during the fall season, and is the third largest event every year in Hillsborough County, trailing only the Florida State Fair and Strawberry Festival. It is held on the grounds of the Nativity Catholic School on Brandon Boulevard.
While they are a few months away at the beginning of 2016, it’s worth noting the trio of big festivals in the Tampa area every year.
Gasparilla Pirate Fest. With a parade in South Tampa that includes a mock invasion by pirate ships that needs to be seen to believed, this annual festival draws in party-goers from across the country. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 30
The Florida State Fair. The state’s largest fair is held each February at the Florida State Fairgrounds, and it’s got everything. There will be rides, competitive events, concerts and more fried food than you can handle. This year’s event will run from Feb. 4-15.
Florida Strawberry Festival. This annual festival in Plant City is big on rides, music and food. And, of course, all kinds of concoctions that require the use of strawberries. This year’s festival is scheduled for March 3-13.