DADE CITY — The 72nd annual Pasco County Fair rolls into town with traditional aplomb — marching bands, colorful floats and antiques cars.
The fair, which runs through Feb. 18-24 at the county fairgrounds, will kick off at 11 a.m. Monday with the "Thrills, Squeals and Ferris Wheels" parade. Fair gates open at 2 p.m. for a week of events that include a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo, student agriculture exhibits, live entertainment, traditional fair food and midway rides.
As usual, fair organizers have mixed in some new offerings with long-held traditions such as the Celebrity Milk-off and Robinsons' Racing Pigs.
New entertainment this year includes Matt's Family Jam (rock n' roll, jazz swing, country and gospel), Banjo Man Greg Thompson, and Stevie Starr the Regurgitator, an America's Got Talent alumni whose talent leans to swallowing light bulbs, balloons, jewelry and live gold fish.
Among the returning acts are Extreme Illusions & Escapes, and Cowboy Circus with Danny Grant. The Fearless Flores Thrill Show will feature members of the Flores family who recently appeared on America's Got Talent.
Strolling performers include Fritzy Bros-One Man Circus, The Plant Guy and Rock-It the Robot.
Gospel is on the agenda, as well, with special concerts by Little Roy and Lizzy Show (6 p.m. Feb 20), and Jeff & Seri Easter & Down East Boys (6 p.m. Feb. 21).
The 15th-annual Pasco Fair Championship Rodeo will be held at 8 p.m. Feb. 22 and 1 p.m. Feb. 23. Events include bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping and barrel racing.
The fair wouldn't be the fair without agricultural exhibits. Youngsters will exhibit plants, poultry, swine, rabbits, goats, steers and heifers.
Fair-goers can take a turn at milking a cow, making a rope, shelling corn and pumping water at the All About Ag exhibit held through the run of the fair.
Craft-minded folks will want to check out the exhibits in the Collura Cottage, where there will be locally hand-crafted items, including jams, jelly, quilts, wall hangings, needlework, baskets, woodwork, dolls, models, jewelry and more. There also will be exhibits by local community and civic organizations.
There will be a little pageantry, as well. The Miss Heart Pageant will take place at 6 p.m. Feb. 22. The Miss Pasco Princess and Mr. Pasco Prince pageant for the wee ones will be at noon on Feb. 23.
If you go: The Pasco County Fair will be Feb 18-24 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52, Dade City. Fair hours: 2 to 11 p.m. Feb. 18; 4 to 11 p.m. Feb. 19-21; 4 p.m. to midnight, Feb 22; 10 a.m. to midnight Feb. 23; 12 to 8 p.m. Feb. 24. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children ages 6-12. Children under 5 are free. Parking is free. No coolers. No pets (with the exception of service animals). For information and midway ticket prices and specials, go to www.pascocountyfair.com
Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] or (727) 869-6251. Follow @MicheleMiller52.