The Florida State Fair – always in Tampa, always in February – will be held on February 8-19, 2018. The Florida State Fair attracts more than 500,000 people over the course of its twelve-day event. Covering fifteen acres, the Florida State Fair boasts the largest Midway in North America with 110 different rides. The Florida State Fair was founded 114 years ago in 1904 and was originally housed at the Tampa Hotel, now known as The University of Tampa.
The Florida State Fair employs 65 full-time staff members and nearly 800 seasonal staff to ensure guests have the most fun, educational and entertaining experience possible. In 2018, the Florida State Fair is unveiling thirteen new attractions including meet and greets with Paw Patrol and Rusty Rivets; Teen Stars Live; Florida State Fair Dance Championships featuring stars of Dance Moms; Little Farm Hands presented by Mosaic; BMX/FMX Freestyle Madness, The Ninja Experience, Mini Monster Trucks and so much more. The ever-enticing Fair foods for 2018 include a Surf N Turf Sundae, Southern Catfish Sundae and Barbeque Pulled Pork Ribbon Fries. Musical acts at the Florida State Fair include Country Gold Tour, Kazual, Screaming Orphans, Fuel on Fire, Dennis Lee, Vocal Trash and local Tampa bands including Kenzie Wheeler, Reverend Barry & the Funk, Alex Lopez, Nathan Hager, Taylor Reed and many more.
Tickets can be purchased at any participating Publix Supermarkets in the Tampa Bay area or online at www.floridastatefair.com.
For more information, please visit:
Website | www.floridastatefair.com
Facebook | www.facebook.com/floridastatefairgrounds
Instagram page | www.instagram.com/flstatefair
On January 22, the Florida State Fair launches its Half-Price Hookup featuring one all-you- can-ride armband plus Gold Access, good for any one Fair day for only $25. The all-you- can- ride armband plus Gold Access is valid to ride any ride in the largest Midway in North America with 110 different rides and the largest traveling Ferris wheel – the Midway Sky Eye. Gold Access will enable guests to use special express access at midway rides and 10% off on selected food and beverage – a $15 value (only on Saturdays and Sundays)
We attended our first Monster Jam show on January 13 at Raymond James Stadium, and now we have a family full of monster truck fans! Our boys have always loved vehicles of all kinds, but with our oldest being sensitive to loud noises, we never wanted to bring him to a show. Wow, were we missing out! We all had so much fun!
Pre-show Pit Party
The Pit Party took place in the field adjacent to the stadium (parking area) from 2:30 - 5:30 pm. We had the chance to meet the drivers, and they were so wonderful with their fans! Our boys (ages 7 and 5) were amazed with seeing the trucks up close. They then became ‘experts’ and were familiar with all the drivers. It gave them a real connection to the rest of the show even though we had never seen any of the cars or drivers before this event.
The Pit Party had a ton of ‘extras' such as food, merchandise, build your own monster truck out of wood, ride on a mini Grave Digger (like a Power Wheel), ride in the back of a full sized Grave Digger, a bounce house and a slide. The extras cost extra, but our boys enjoyed just walking around, seeing the drivers, and doing the free things at the different vendors. The free activities included making a pit party sign from Dairy Queen, playing corn hole and winning a free pizza from Papa Johns, free tattoos, and there were many vendors who gave out fun swag.
There were 3 parts to the event. In the first part, the trucks raced each other around the track and one winner was crowned. We loved cheering on our favorites! In the second part, the trucks did tricks on 2 wheels and the crowd did the scoring. I thought this was such a fun, engaging way to get the audience involved! The final part of the show was a freestyle event when the audience was able to provide the scores again.
We were surprised to see how many trucks needed repairs during the show. They show them on the big screen getting fixed and rush them back in from outside like its WWE - so fun!
Tips and Tricks!
As long as you have ear plugs or headphones, it is better to sit closer to the action. The jumps would be amazing to see from the 100 or 200 level. Being higher was better for us because it was not as loud, but it’s a tradeoff. They were also doing some great giveaways in the lower section!
Make sure to bring food to tailgate before/after the pit party. People were partying at this event like it’s a football game! I saw people with grills, tables of foods, pop up tents, and drinking games. Packing your food and drinks is a great way to save a bit of money, but also can ensure you have your kids' favorite foods. I stopped at the store on our way and bought a delicious Publix Cuban Sandwich and my boys' favorite- popcorn chicken. I also let them each pick out a few special treats for the show. It was the first time we have gone somewhere and they didn’t ask for food.
Remember that this event is outdoors. It was an unusually cold Tampa night for our show, and we showed no shame and wore many layers along with our winter coats from our time up north! I saw people with blankets, wool caps, and gloves!
The holiday season has officially begun in the Tampa Bay area! I have been researching fun family activities to celebrate Christmas, and I was thrilled to find Christmas Lane in Plant City. Christmas Lane is an amazing winter wonderland light display with something for everyone to enjoy! We had the pleasure of visiting and I am excited to share our experience with you.
When we entered the Charlie Grimes Family Agricultural Center at the Florida Strawberry Festival® grounds, we were greeted by a massive, beautiful display of over 1.5 million lights and life-sized decorations. From trees to trains, Christmas Lane has it all! There were even characters such as a gingerbread man and Rudolph walking around to pose for pictures with the guests!
Our first stop was to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. It was a perfect way to start our visit to get us in the Christmas mood. They have a beautiful display with fun props to use, just like a photo booth! They took amazing photos for us and we were able to buy them right there. You can also use your own camera to capture the visit.
My boys next wanted to check out the carnival rides. They had about 7-8 carnival attractions, and be advised – there are height restrictions. My older two boys had a blast riding and never had to wait in line (we visited on a Thursday evening). My 18 month old enjoyed the carousel ride the most!
I was worried at this point that we wouldn’t have much more to do before the Living Nativity started, but wow, was I wrong! We made our way over to the other side of the complex where we enjoyed face painting, ornament decorating, and letters to Santa! We indulged in some popcorn and I was impressed with the affordability of all of the snacks. This area of Christmas Lane included the stage where they have nightly performers. We were mesmerized by the performer on a unicycle!
After the stage performance, we enjoyed the Living Nativity outside. The boys loved seeing the animals and the live angel who performed. My favorite part was the live performance of "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night." The Living Nativity is presented by local churches every Thursday and Saturday of the season.
Christmas Lane was the perfect way for us to kick off the holiday season. It was fun for our entire family!
Where: On the grounds of the Florida Strawberry Festival® inside and around the Charlie Grimes Family Agriculture Center at 2508 West Oak Avenue, Plant City, FL 33563.
When: Open November 24 through December 24. Operating hours are Thursday through
Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night.
Price: Tickets are $5 for adults. Children ages 4 to 12 are $3. Children 3 and under receive
free entry. Free admission will also be available on Thursdays for current and former
members of the military. Our Community Night will offer free admission to Teachers,
First Responders and Law Enforcement on Fridays. Saturdays will be Youth Sports
night. Every child who wears his/her league jersey or shirt will receive free popcorn.
Sundays will be Senior night and all Seniors will receive a complimentary cup of coffee.
Parking is free and can be accessed from Lemon St. and Oak St.
More details can be found on the Christmas Lane website at ChristmasLane.com and on
Facebook at facebook.com/visitchristmaslane.
ABOUT CHRISTMAS LANE
In 1984 at his own home, Lane Wetherington founded Christmas Lane for the Dover,
Florida community. Sparked when he was a young boy, Lane’s passion for Christmas
led him to ask for Christmas lights to decorate the family home. Over the last 33 years,
his passion has grown exponentially to become a holiday favorite for people around
Central Florida. Initially an ever-expanding light display at the Lane family home,
Christmas Lane found a new home at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds in 2015
and includes over one hundred Christmas trees ranging from four to forty feet in height.
There are elaborate displays and over 1.5 million lights accompanying its
larger-than-life decorations that use more than 168,000 watts of power. Christmas
Lane is a non-profit organization. Volunteers work more than 1,800 hours to set up the breathtaking winter display.
Thank you to Christmas Lane for hosting our experience in exchange for the blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Marvel fans, assemble for this live, legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man join forces with Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki’s hands in this all-new, spectacular arena stunt show.
Produced by Feld Entertainment, Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes is performing at Amalie Arena from January 5 - 7, 2018 for six performances. Tickets go on sale Friday, October 27!
Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax make their live production debut bringing their courage and misfit wit to Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes. Alongside Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk, Black Widow, Wasp and Iron Fist, the Guardians of the Galaxy help fight the scheming, menacing and loathsome villains Loki, Yondu and Green Goblin. Audiences will join in the quest that sparks new feuds with old foes, pitting student against mentor, sister against sister and brother against brother.
Witness cutting-edge special effects, aerial maneuvers, pyrotechnics, martial arts, motorcycle stunts and vast 3D video projection mapping in this completely new thrilling adventure. Fans of all ages will be immersed in the Marvel Universe and experience it all with their family...LIVE!
401 Channelside Dr., Tampa, FL 33602
Performance Schedule of Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes in Tampa:
Friday, January 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 6 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 7 at 11:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m.
Marvel Universe Live! Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
Get a break from our summer heat with Disney On Ice presents Frozen, coming to Tampa's Amalie Arena from Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017! You’ll be magically whisked away into the wintry world of Arendelle, where you will be dazzled by amazing special effects and astonishing skating. Sing and dance along to inspiring songs, including “Let It Go.” Join royal sisters Anna and Elsa, the hilarious snowman Olaf, Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven and the mystical trolls as they journey to discover that true love is ultimately the most magical power of all!
Hosted by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, with special guest appearances by your most beloved Disney Princesses and characters from favorites like Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King, this unforgettable celebration of love and friendship will leave your family with memories to last a lifetime.
Ticket prices start at $18!
Sep 29, 2017
Sep 30, 2017
11:00AM , 03:00PM , 07:00PM
Oct 01, 2017
11:00AM , 03:00PM
Purchase tickets by phone:
Group Sales Info:
To create a completely immersive experience for the audience, the set design will encompass the space from the ice surface up through the air, drawing everyone into the story and closer to the characters. Families will feel that they are trekking up to the North Mountains with Anna, Kristoff and Sven, and they will tangibly experience the storm inside Elsa. Elsa’s magic will be enhanced by state-of-the art special effects while her emotions will be conveyed through powerful skating.
Producers Nicole Feld and Kenneth Feld have selected the brightest and most creative minds in the industry to put together this spectacular show.
The Artist - Nathan Sawaya
When you arrive at The Art of the Brick Tampa, you are welcomed into a small area to watch a 3 minute video about the artist behind the exhibit, Nathan Sawaya. It was fascinating to learn all about his passion for LEGOs and the journey that led to creating the exhibit after being a corporate lawyer in NYC.
After the video, you have a self-directed walking tour of the gallery that houses the exhibit. Each area has a theme, such as the first room with famous art recreated by LEGOs. I loved checking out the title of each piece and the number of bricks that it took to assemble it. The Mona Lisa and Starry Night were my favorites in this gallery!
I will include some photos of the exhibit, but I don’t want to ruin it for you! My boys loved seeing how LEGOs can be assembled to create amazing things of all shapes and sizes. I was in awe of the artistic component. Sawaya truly found ways to take a novel medium to create pieces that were able to evoke emotion and feeling.
At the end of the tour, there is an interactive area with LEGO bricks for everyone to assemble their own creations. There is even a spot for the littlest ones to have fun with the Duplo larger blocks! Everyone will have the chance to be inspired and explore their creativity.
Know if you go - And you should go!
Designated parking is available, but it is a bit of a walk from the museum. There are plenty of lots downtown, just follow signage and pay as posted.
The exhibit is FREE to view, courtesy of the Vinik Foundation, through September 4 at 802 East Whiting Street in Downtown Tampa (District 3 Arts and Event Center). The exhibit is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
We can all thank Facebook memories for this post. It popped up at the top of my newsfeed on Sunday, and while I knew it was coming soon, I was surprised to see it. It has been exactly a year since we left Virginia to move to Tampa. It has been quite a year, and I’m grateful for a place to reflect.
Creating our Virginia Home
I grew up in the St. Pete/ Clearwater area, so this area is truly home, but Northern Virginia earned its place as home in our hearts. I moved to Woodbridge, Virginia as a college graduate, and I thought it would only be temporary. The short version is that I got a permanent job teaching elementary school, met my husband, and the rest was really history. The longer version is that my husband and I truly created a home together there. We got engaged overlooking the same bay where we would get married a year later. We had our first grown up jobs as teachers. We watched our careers grow. Most importantly, we started our family there. All three of our boys were born in the same hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. We made life-long friends there. We had routines, and overall, the comforts of a “home.”
Over the 11 years that both my husband and I lived in Virginia, we knew that we did not want to stay there permanently. We didn’t see Tampa as our next home until a couple of years ago when we had our routine Christmas time visit here in Tampa. We saw how people were able to spend so much time outdoors, how our boys loved it, how there was a bit of a slower pace, and how great it would be to live near family. We spent time at the beach, saw the joy in each other’s eyes, and decided that if we could make it all work, we would move to Florida.
It sounded so simple but daunting. Somehow everything fell into place, and we found ourselves packing up while I was at the end of my pregnancy. We pulled off the move from VA to FL and lived to tell the tale!
We arrived in Tampa with a set of goals and hopes for our future here. In a year’s time, we have met many of those goals, but not in the ways we expected to. My husband found a new job and starts next week. I never thought I’d be running a blog and organizing events, but here I am! But through it all, we still haven’t made enough memories here yet for it to feel like home.
What is Home?
I’ve lived in many places in my life. My dad is retired Air Force, and we also moved around when I was a kid because he was in the restaurant business. I’ve learned that it takes time to make a place feel like home, but above all, it takes people. When I visited Virginia, of course I had a few destinations that I needed to visit (Wegmans, I MISS YOU!), but I had a list of so many people who I needed to see. I spent time reconnecting, chatting, and just feeling like myself.
I consider myself lucky that I have found a few people here in Tampa who I know will remain life-long friends. It will continue to take time to make it feel like home though.
A Year From Now
I am excited to see what this next year brings. We have goals for our family, for our careers/businesses, and for our kids. They may not happen exactly how we plan, but we know that we will continue embracing Tampa as our home!
For Little Ones to Love
The hoodies are highly functional. The sleeveless jumper we have is a great balance of cool for summer and still great for being in the air conditioning in a museum or mall.
While baby boy is probably too young to have a preference on his appearance, his big brothers LOVE the spikes on the hoodie. They can’t agree on whether he looks like a dino or alligator, but they love the design!
For Adults to Love
The Purl Lamb Hoodie Company produces clothing that is organic and ethically made by Fair trade artisans with organic dyes and processes. They are thick, durable, and true to size. My guy is about 20 pounds and close to a year old, and he fits perfectly in the 6 - 12 months size. I love the variety of unique designs! Check out the donuts or French fries!
I happily dressed my little guy in the jumper, and I think these styles would be a wonderful gift to someone with children for any occasion.
Purl Lamb offers free domestic shipping on orders over $75, and a money back guarantee.
FInd Purl Lamb
While all thoughts are my own, I received a complimentary Purl Lamb jumper for my review.
Now that we have a one year old, my husband and I knew this trip would be a little different. Rather than try to entertain him, we decided it would be best to drive overnight so he would sleep in the car. I’m not going to lie here, it was rough. Baby boy didn’t love sleeping in the car, so he woke up often, my husband was exhausted from taking the overnight shift (thank you!!), and my older boys were ready to see their cousins in New York. My oldest asked if we were in Pennsylvania yet before we even made it to Jacksonville.
“Wow, you have THREE boys?? You must never sleep!”
“How do you get it all done??”
“Three boys must keep you very busy!”
Any time it comes up that I have three sons, I usually hear a variation on one of these phrases. I politely smile or make a dumb joke about how I don’t know how it all gets done, but the truth is, I have a (not-so) secret weapon. I have an amazing husband who is an incredible father and husband, and on this Father’s Day, I want to recognize him.
Watching my husband grow from the young man I met when we were both teachers in Virginia to the man I know today who is the father to three sons has been nothing short of incredible. I count myself lucky to have a husband who my sons are excitedly waiting to see every day when he comes home from work, a husband who gladly plays with the boys and takes them on adventures, and who above all, shows our sons how to be a supportive, loving husband.
Something Dan knows about me is that I’m “not so good with the words,” which is particularly funny since I’m now writing a blog, so I will wrap this up with some of my favorite pictures showing my husband shine as a loving father. Happy Father's Day, Dan!
Hi! I'm Diana. I love the beach, my family, chocolate, coffee, and meeting new people. I host monthly events in the Tampa area and cannot wait to meet all of you!
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Copyright © 2016, SOCIALLY FUSED LLC
Copyright © 2016, SOCIALLY FUSED LLC