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Hillsborough County Fair features old-time fun

VALRICO — Frog jumping, pig racing, bronco riding, pageant queens and lots of livestock.

If the 2009 version of the Hillsborough County Fair sounds like a throwback to a simpler time, the organizers of the annual event have met their goals.

Folks began gathering Wednesday for the fair, now in the second year at its permanent location on the corner of State Road 60 and Sydney-Dover Road.

Between now and Sunday, the fair will offer midway rides along with Robinson's Racing Pigs, the National Frog Jumping Contest and an array of other events that hark back to blue ribbons, candied apples and home-baked pies.

"It's down-home, that's what it really is," manager Tom Umiker said. "A county fair is supposed to be a portrait of the community with a strong agricultural element and that's what this fair is.

"It's really a down-to-earth type of event and a chance for urban folks to learn a little bit about agriculture."

The ranch rodeo, which kicks up tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m., will help showcase the new 1,500-seat grandstand. It includes bronco riding, calf doctoring, wild cow milking and team branding.

There's also a battle of the bands, a chili cookoff and Saturday's 11th annual Harvest Queen Scholarship Pageant.

The event comes just a week before the more established Novemberfest at Nativity Catholic Church, but Umiker believes there is room for both.

"It's a great atmosphere (at Novemberfest) but it's different," Umiker said. "Our whole concept is a traditional fair that's open to the entire county."

The Hillsborough County Fair continues at 5 p.m. today, 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. Admission is $5 for ages 8 and older and parking is free.

Armbands for the midway rides are available every day. Go to for more information.

Hillsborough County Fair features old-time fun 11/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2009 3:30am]
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