Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Events

County fair mixes midway with old-school agricultural excellence

RECOMMENDED READING


DOVER — The Hillsborough County Fair is in a class of its own.

As board chairman Earl Lennard explains it, the annual event is a throwback to days gone by, when affairs of this nature were volunteer-driven and meant mainly to tout the impact of a community's agricultural significance and the talents of its future farmers.

"As Hillsborough County becomes more and more urbanized I think it's important to educate people on the importance of agriculture," said Lennard, who in addition to being raised on a farm in Riverview taught vocational agriculture along with other subjects prior to serving as superintendent of Hillsborough County public schools from 1996 to 2005.

With agriculture and education as its primary focus — topics that matter a great deal to Lennard — this year's fair is set to run Oct. 20-23 and Oct. 27-30 at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Road, north of State Road 60.

Attendees are invited to visit daily showmanship events featuring more than 200 youth of all ages presenting their farm animals — from baby chicks, rabbits and swine, to sheep and dairy and beef cows.

Betty Jo Tompkins, a Hillsborough County Fair board member and executive director of the Hills­borough Soil and Water Conservation District, believes many of those kids might well be grooming themselves for careers as agriculturists.

"The fair is an absolutely terrific opportunity to see the young people display their talents in so many areas so they can compete at higher levels as they grow older," she said. "What a lot of people don't realize is that if we do not increase food production in the next 40 years, we're not going to be able to sustain our food supply."

Fairgoers also will have an opportunity to view an array of blue-ribbon art, crafts and cooking projects created by residents throughout the county.

There will be a baby pageant, a talent show, a hay bale decorating contest, a circus and a rodeo, plus special attractions that include but aren't limited to Robinson's pig races, bulls and barrels, truck and tractor pulls, and a demolition derby.

"We also have a historical area we're developing called cowboy camp where we'll be making things like charcoal and cane syrup and using old equipment," said fair manager Tom Umiker.

"We focus on just about anything people want to get involved in and that folks really enjoy," added Umiker, noting that there is also a midway with rides and fair foods as well as plenty of space and free parking to accommodate a total of close to 25,000 visitors projected to turn out.

New this year is a plant auction at 11 a.m. Oct. 22, presented by the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District in cooperation with local nurserymen. In conjunction with that, local 4-H and Rotary club volunteers will be selling $10 pork barbecue dinners, and for those who present their fair admission ticket stubs, the cost is just $3.

Soil and Water representatives also will host a Haystack Dinner from 1 to 7 p.m. Oct. 30. The menu is tacos and the event will include a haystack where children can win prizes.

Proceeds from the plant sales and the dinners will help fund youth programs, a scholarship for a college-bound student interested in pursuing a career in the agriculture industry, and the Hills­borough 100 Conservation Challenge, a Soil and Water Conservation District initiative.

Contact Joyce McKenzie at [email protected]

 
Comments
Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away, you can stop grumbling about it being too early for Christmas lights and decorations. Let the grand illuminations begin! Despite our tropical climate, or maybe because of it, Tampa Bay goes all out when ...
Published: 11/21/17
Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekendShoppingBlack Friday: Avoid the madness of the malls at a variety of indie shopping experiences this weekend. Skatepark of Tampa has one of the best sneaker selections in Tampa Bay and free skating all day Friday to celebrate. They’l...
Published: 11/21/17
Meet Amazon’s bawdy, opinionated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Meet Amazon’s bawdy, opinionated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Miriam "Midge" Maisel seems to have it all.It’s 1958 New York City, Upper West Side, and she’s a quick-witted Jewish housewife with two kids. She and her husband live in a plush apartment just a few floors below her meddling yet endearing parents.He’...
Published: 11/21/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 24

St. Petersburg Tree Lighting: Mayor Kriseman flips the switch to illuminate the city’s Christmas tree at this celebration with live entertainment. 5 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 893-74...
Published: 11/21/17
Legendary guitarist John McLaughlin talks about his last tour

Legendary guitarist John McLaughlin talks about his last tour

As you might imagine, quite a lot of thought goes into planning your final tour ever. "It’s not a light decision to not tour again, but that really is the situation," said John McLaughlin, the guitarist behind legendary jazz-rock fusion outfit...
Published: 11/21/17
Fun things to do in Tampa Bay for Wednesday, Nov. 22

Fun things to do in Tampa Bay for Wednesday, Nov. 22

Much Ado About Nothing: William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy gets an update by placing lovers Beatrice and Benedick against the backdrop of the Florida Keys as World War II is drawing to a close. Through Dec. 10. 7 p.m., American Stage Theatre...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
10 things to do for fun in Tampa Bay on Tuesday

10 things to do for fun in Tampa Bay on Tuesday

Ice Skating at Tampa’s Winter Village: Even in Florida, you can get in the holiday spirit by ice skating on an outdoor rink in the park. Each 90-minute session includes skate rental. Stop by the cafe for themed drinks and holiday snacks. 10 a.m...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
11 fun things to do in Tampa Bay on Thanksgiving day

11 fun things to do in Tampa Bay on Thanksgiving day

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: More than 2 million twinkling lights transform the park into a holiday wonderland with Rudolph, Sam the Snowman, Christmas-themed entertainment and visits with Santa. Included with admission on select nights through D...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Nov. 20-26

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Nov. 20-26

Thanksgiving Day races: Get those calories burning early on Thursday, so you won’t feel as guilty about that second piece of pie. The Times Turkey Trot kicks off at Clearwater High School and features a buffet of races, including the 1-mile Gob...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Holiday-themed events dot the East Hillsborough landscape

Holiday-themed events dot the East Hillsborough landscape

East Hillsborough residents will have three holiday-themed events to help brighten the season this year.Christmas Lane, the long-time holiday celebration that started on an area farm, launches another season of festivities at its current spot, the Fl...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17