Gates open for 109th Florida State Fair

TAMPA - The 109th Florida State Fair is now under way.  The gates opened at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Running through Feb. 18, the fair features more than 7,000 animals, exhibits, shows, entertainment and 100+ carnival rides.

New rides this year include:

Skyflyer - The giant swing is back by popular demand. This newly-refurbished ride raises, rotates and swings you 12 feet off the ground.

Air Race - a simulated airplane flight that takes you through highs and lows. Get set to buckle up and take off!

As usual, the food at the fair features some unique cuisine. These culinary adventures include:

The Pizza Cone - an ice-cream cone shaped pizza crust filled with stringy gooey mozzarella, marinara and pepperoni for meat lovers.

Burger with Red Neck Attitude - a fresh burger topped with cheese, bacon, fried bologna, baked beans and topped with potato sticks.

Opening day is Heroes Day. All active, reserve, or retired military veterans, law enforcement, firemen and first responders are admitted free with I.D.

In addition to the usual fanfare, this year will also celebrate the 500 th anniversary of Ponce De Leon's arrival in Florida.

Admission is just $5 for everyone today after 5:00 p.m., and armbands are $20 after 3:00 p.m.

The Fair is offering a concert series this year featuring LeAnn Rimes, the Gatlin Brothers, the Bellamy Brothers, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, and more. All concert series shows require a separate ticket that does not include fair admission.

Fair admission prices Monday to Friday are $10 for adults 12 and older and $5 for children ages 6-11. Prices on Saturday and Sunday are $12 for adults 12 and older and $6 for children ages 6-11.

Midway games and rides may have additional admission prices.

For more information, call (813) 621-7821 or visit the .

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