Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teens' tradition grows up at Pasco County Fair

Cordell Spence, left, and his cousin Larissa Spence, both 4, enjoy a balloon ride at the Pasco County Fair on opening day.

LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN | Times

Cordell Spence, left, and his cousin Larissa Spence, both 4, enjoy a balloon ride at the Pasco County Fair on opening day.

DADE CITY — The Mega Drop hovered above the entrance. Teasing.

The Pasco County Fair wasn't set to open for an hour, and already a line snaked more than a hundred feet from the ticket booth to the portable toilets in the dusty parking lot.

For best friends Mary Beth Huskey and Terin Spence, this was part of the tradition.

Since high school, or maybe it was middle school, the two women have attended the county fair together. Always on opening day, and always as early as possible.

Back in the day, the fair was a place to smoke cigarettes Spence pilfered from her mother and to flirt with boys.

"It's a lot different now," said Huskey, 23.

In the double stroller at her feet, her 2-year-old son, Ayden, munched on a cookie. His brother, Aaron, 5, chased after Spence's son, Cordell, 4, while Spence's niece practiced her aim with a rock from the gravel parking lot.

Huskey still lives in their hometown of Dade City. She works at McDonald's and has a fiance now, a man who says he loves her kids like they were his own.

Spence, 23, has since moved to Tampa and is a stay-at-home mom. She smokes her own cigarettes — Marlboro Red 100s — now. This year she will scan the fair crowd for men, not boys.

Thirty minutes passed. The kids told their knock-knock jokes. Twice. Ayden's cookie was gone.

"We want to go on the rides," Cordell said to his mom.

At 2:28 p.m., the line finally began to move.

Spence and Huskey rushed their group through the expo hall, into the grounds, past the Old Time Photo Booth and the House of Oddities. They could not be stopped by the lures of game booth attendees or enticing wafts of fair food-scented air.

Up a hill. To the left. Finally, the midway appeared.

The women let the kids go on a few rides before leaving them with Huskey's fiance and sprinting toward the haunted house.

Spence couldn't go in, the attendee said. No sandals allowed. She waited by the exit for Huskey, who popped out a few minutes later, looking unimpressed.

"That sucks when you're by yourself," she told her friend.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

IF you go

Ticket information

The Pasco County Fair runs through Sunday.

Hours: 3-11 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 3 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and free for kids 5 and younger.

Tuesday through Thursday, guests can buy a wristband for unlimited rides for $15 (plus gate admission). That wristband goes up to $20 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Parking is free.

Teens' tradition grows up at Pasco County Fair 02/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, February 16, 2009 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

    Blogs

    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  2. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  3. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot

    News

    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of WESH.com
  4. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  5. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]