The Florida State Fair – always in Tampa, always in February – begins its 30-day countdown to its opening day on Thursday, February 7, 2019. The Florida State Fair is hosted at the Florida State Fairgrounds on February 7-18, 2019 and features acres of incredible entertainment, the largest Midway in the United States and all of the fun fair foods people have come to love! As the first State Fair of the year, the Florida State Fair is the first to debut new and unique fair food such as the Cuban Pizza, Deep Fried Cookie Dough, Buffaloaded Quesadilla and so much more! It’s affordable family fun at its best.
The Florida State Fair will have all day entertainment including Lady Houdini, All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash, Bello Nock Super Stunt Show, the Budweiser Clydesdales, Circus Hollywood, Demolition Derby, Extreme Illusions & Escapes, Kachunga Alligator Show, Hollywood Racing Pigs, Moto Maniacs Xtreme, Tyzen the Comedy Hypnotist, Zaji Amazing Acrobats of China and so much more!
“We are incredibly excited to bring you the 2019 Florida State Fair. The entertainment, food,
agriculture and music are sure to bring smiles to the faces of everyone this year. We cannot
wait to unveil all that we have in store for you this year!” says Cheryl Flood, Executive Director
at the Florida State Fair Authority.
The Florida State Fair, held February 7-18, 2019, will sell advance tickets and ride armbands at
participating Publix locations starting on January 2 through February 6, 2019 and online at
floridastatefair.com. Advance ticket prices are $9 for adult admission, $5 for a child and $7 for
seniors. Weekday Ride Armbands are $20 and Any Day Ride Armbands are $30. Advance ticket
sales for the $79 Mega Pass which provides unlimited admission and rides throughout the
entirety of the Fair, and the Senior Five Day Pass, will only be available through
www.FloridaStateFair.com or at the Box Office starting December 1.
LIST OF PROMOTION DAYS INCLUDE:
HEROES DAY | THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2019
Military and Emergency Responders (police, fire and first responders) receive free admission for
themselves and up to three guests with their official ID.
$2 TUESDAY AFTER 2 PM | TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2019
Guests receive $2 admission, $2 Midway rides, $2 select food and games.
Midway opens at 1:00 p.m.
$5 ADMISSION AFTER 5 PM | FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019
The perfect night for dinner and a fun filled evening with family and friends.
Guests receive $5 admission after 5:00 p.m.
FAIR CARES FOR THE HUNGRY DAY | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2019 (PRESIDENTS DAY)
Sponsored by Publix & Feeding Tampa Bay
$5 admission with the donation of two or more non-perishable/canned food items from Publix
For More Information:
For more information about the Florida State Fair, visit www.floridastatefair.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.
What an amazing event! Yesterday, my family had the pleasure of attending one of our favorite shows, Monster Jam! It was our second time viewing the show at Raymond James Stadium, and my littlest guy's first time seeing Monster Jam ever. He's about 2 1/2 years old and I was nervous he would be too young for it, but he is now already a dedicated super fan!!
Don't be sad if you missed out - Monster Jam returns to Raymond James Stadium in just a few short weeks on February 2nd!
We always start our Monster Jam experience in the Pits with the drivers and trucks. With the beautiful weather (unlike last year's very cold weather for the show), the Pit Party was full of fans of all ages. The lines were long to meet the drivers, so we opted to enjoy the activities and pose for pictures in front of our favorite trucks.
A nice touch was from one of the truck sponsors, Great Clips. My older two boys let them style and (temporarily) color their hair! They LOVED it, and it was a nice touch from the sponsor.
There were some free activities such as a sand pile set up with a few trucks to play with, and then there were multiple activities available for an additional charge. The longest line was for the opportunity to ride in a monster truck, which looked like a blast! My little guys did not have the patience for the line, unfortunately.
Overall, we enjoyed the Pit Party! There was a lot to see and do. I will add that a couple of us mentioned preferring the set-up at the Pit Party at Amalie Arena over the summer. I think it was because it was a smaller crowd and we chose to wait in line to meet the drivers.
One thing Monster Jam always delivers on is a high-energy, action-packed event. It was a three part event with races, two-wheels skills challenge, and freestyle. It was so much fun cheering on our favorites and also being able to play along online to rate the performances. While I have very little interest in trucks in my day-to-day life, I LOVE these shows and can completely understand why fans of all ages, backgrounds, and genders are fans!
If You Go
A few tips - the set-up at Raymond James is perfect for tailgating between the Pit Party and the show. We packed snacks and the kids played for a bit before we went into the stadium. Also, if you plan to meet the drivers during the Pit Party, bring something for them to sign! Over the summer we used our headphones and it has been a great keepsake that they use for every show. And finally, due to the added fun of voting during the show, make sure your phone is fully charged beforehand! Between taking photos, capturing video, and then voting, it was a stretch to make mine last for the duration of the show!
Tickets and show info for February 2nd: www.monsterjam.com/en-US/events/tampa-fl/feb-02-2019-feb-02-2019
We are honored to feature Post 9/11 Veterans as our spotlight non-profit this month. Founded by two Post 9/11 Veterans, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Post 9/11 organization was created by the same demographic they are focused on helping. Operating as a Federal 501 (c) (3) Nonprofit, their ability to connect with their peers and local communities on both a social and personal level is what sets them apart from other established organizations.
They focus on providing a platform, a starting point, and a place of belonging, where veterans are encouraged to integrate into their local communities. By building a strong community through social outreach and events, they strive to change many of the negative stigmas surrounding returning veterans, while positively impacting entire communities.
While active duty service is one of the highest honors one can have, often times, the transitional phase out into the civilian world can be challenging. Post 9/11 Veterans truly believe that our returning service members of today can, and will, be the future business and professional leaders of tomorrow.
Post 9/11 Veterans programs and initiatives in Tampa revolve around connecting and immersing returning service members in hands-on and constructive environments where they are able to connect with other like-minded veterans, feel the sense of purpose and brotherhood, and reintegrate properly back into the Tampa Bay community with the same pride, passion, and feeling of belonging they had while serving on active duty.
Since their start in 2015, the organization has grown exponentially with the addition of 20 staff employees and hundreds of volunteers. Being a 100% volunteer organization, Post 9/11 Veterans relies heavily on you, the community, to support their mission and vision. Through contributions they have been able to supply thousands of underprivileged children with much needed school supplies, ensure local veterans were able to provide a Happy Holiday season for their families, and educational scholarships for veterans pursuing their dreams of becoming college graduates.
Cirque du Soleil CRYSTAL is in Tampa for just a few short days right now. My husband and I enjoyed a date night to check out this show, and it was great! It is Cirque du Soleil's first performance on ice, which makes it unique, but of course the show stays true to the artistry and skill of all other Cirque du Soleil performances.
The story follows a girl named Crystal as she goes on a journey of self-discovery. The performers are on a stage of ice with incredible light projections to enhance the set. Our eyes were immediately drawn to the multiple ramps on the set, and we were amazed by the skill of the performers who skated and sped around the arena.
I don't want to give away the entire show, but I will share some of my favorite moments in photos.
If you are able to go (and you should go!), the show will be at Amalie Arena through December 23, and tickets are available here.
Thursday, December 20 at 7:30 pm
Friday, December 21 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 22 at 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 23 at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm
I received two tickets in exchange for promoting this show. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
We are so lucky here in Florida. Finding a resort for a beach vacation is as easy as picking a beach and checking for the good reviews. We have the beauty of the Panhandle's beaches, the excitement of the Atlantic beaches, and the tranquil setting of the Gulf beaches. However, while it is easy to FIND resorts to visit, it is not easy to CHOOSE which resort would meet all of your needs and create lasting memories for your entire group. Luckily, I'm here with an amazing resort to put at the top of your list to please everyone you are traveling with. The Resort at Longboat Key Club has it all, and the staff puts your comfort and pleasure first in all areas of the resort.
Fun in the Sun
The Resort at Longboat Key has done an amazing job of making sure their pool and beach area is perfect for couples, individuals, and families. When I visited, I was amazed at the attentiveness of the pool attendants. I watched one employee speed from one person to the next while moving umbrellas, bringing towels, and even supplying a pool float for a baby to use. It was amazing!
Like many gulf beach resorts, The Resort at Longboat Key Club recently faced the issue of a shrinking beach space due to erosion. I spoke with the general manager, Jeff Mayers, and learned that the resort chose to bring in sand from a Citrus County mine, rather than dredging in the Gulf, making it more environmentally friendly. The powdery white sand is the perfect setting for their queen cabanas and lounge chairs, along with any beach activities your heart desires!
Golf and Tennis
The Resort at Longboat Key Club is set amidst their highly-rated golf courses and is a golfer's dream! Not an avid golfer but want to try it while on vacation? Build on your skills with their instructional golf programs!
Golf has never been one of my interests, but I was so excited to experience a tennis lesson while staying at the Resort! The Resort at Longboat Key Club has been named the #7 top tennis resort in the world by Tennis Resorts Online in its highly competitive annual listing. The lessons on the Har-Tru court were individualized for my skill-level (I haven't held a racket in about 15 years!) and a perfect way to get some exercise during the trip. I highly recommend spending time on the courts!
You will not have trouble finding delicious food - this AAA Four-Diamond resort boasts eight exceptional Sarasota restaurants featuring fresh ingredients for all tastes. I had the pleasure of dining at Portofino at the marina for amazing Italian food, Sands Pointe for a perfect filet, Tavern & Whiskey at the pro shop for a fresh lunch (order fries, you won't regret it!!), and room service for a relaxing breakfast in my room. I'll let the photos speak for themselves!
Are you guilty of doing so much on vacation that you feel like you need a vacation when you get home? Make sure to build in relaxation at the Resort at Longboat Key's on-site spa. This tranquil paradise offers services including massages, salon treatments, and facials during your stay. I enjoyed the oxygen facial, which left me with a healthy glow.
General Manager Jeff Mayers shared that The Resort at Longboat Key will soon be undergoing extensive renovations on their aging rooms, and our traveling group was shocked. The current rooms have held up incredibly well, and provide clean, luxurious, modern decor with flat screen TVs and Bose radios. Whether you visit soon or wait until after renovations, you are in for a treat in these rooms and suites!
Book now or find information on their website.
While you could very easily spend all of your time on resort property, there is so much to see and do in nearby Sarasota. Just a short drive away, you will find St. Armands Circle, Mote Marine Laboratory, and more. Check out my recent post about my favorite activities in Sarasota, and I know you will have a vacation to remember in Longboat Key!
We had such a wonderful time kicking off the busy December holidays at Bahama Breeze in Lutz! Thank you to everyone who attended! It is so rewarding to watch so many women come together to support each other and create new friendships. Our Wesley Chapel events always impress me because we have such an amazing community outside of the Tampa area. I'm always looking for great venues for new events - what other communities should we visit?
Below, you will find a listing of the small businesses we welcomed at this event. Please continue to support them by visiting their sites, learning about them, and use them for your future needs. Thank you so much, and I look forward to seeing you next month as we celebrate our TWO YEAR anniversary at American Social with our Little Black Dress event! Find details on our Facebook event page. The photos below highlight our businesses, and you can find the entire album on our Facebook page!
United Vein Centers
Looking for the best treatment for spider veins and varicose veins in Tampa? United Vein Center has numerous locations in the Tampa area to meet your needs! Their staff has treated hundreds of patients, providing extremely successful results through their commitment to patient care.
They use the latest vein treatment technologies and specialize in noninvasive treatments that allow for little to no pain.
Clean Juice Wesley Chapel
Clean Juice is a family owned company founded with the purpose of giving your family access to clean, organic products while you are on the go. You may recognize them from other locations around the area, and we are so lucky to welcome Clean Juice to the Shops at Wiregrass! From acai bowls to juice cleanses, Clean Juice Wesley Chapel has you covered for healthy products. They had their soft opening this weekend and are ready to serve you today!
Esthetics813 and Balance Right
Websites: http://www.esthetics813.com and Balanceright.trainerize.com
The amazing duo of Kyymara and Megan joined forces to provide you with all of the services you need to feel and look your best! Esthetics813 is a full-service facial and body skincare spa. Esthetics813 is the place to go for a relaxing spa day and sets the mood for total self-renewal. Esthetics813 has been nominated for Best in Spa by Creative Loafing and Best New Business by the North Tampa Bay Chamber in 2017 and 2018. Whether you need some Me time, Girls time or Couple time - Esthetics813 is the spa for you!
Balance Right is an online fitness and nutrition program. Programs are suitable for moms, busy women, travelers, or anyone looking to better their health and fitness. Workouts and meal plans are designed based on your needs. With your online program, workout anywhere with a personal trainer 24/7. Learn how to balance your life, with health and fitness!
Cruiseplanners - Travel Bum Vacations
Want to take the stress out of planning a vacation? You need Wendy with Cruiseplanners! Whether you are traveling by land or sea, looking for budget travel or luxury, Wendy has a variety of resources available to plan your perfect vacation! Learn more about Wendy from our recent blog post, and contact her for your travel from Tampa needs!
Pure Romance with Denise
With the best in bath, beauty, and bedroom accessories, it's easy to find something you'll love with Pure Romance. Wish list longer than expected? No problem! When you host a party with Denise, you receive a free gift plus a percentage of your party's sales to use toward the product you love-all for having a night of laughs your friends will never forget. Hosting is always free and always fun, so contact Denise to book your party today!
Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski with Shannah
Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski jewels are exclusively made with Swarovski crystals and zirconia, designed using unique Swarovski innovations, cuts and trend colors. Shannah can help you select the perfect piece for yourself or as a gift to someone special! With so much of their line under $50, you and your wallet will love shopping with Shannah!
Mir Salgado Photography
Thank you to the amazing Miriam for capturing this event for us! An award-winning Tampa photographer, Miriam photographs weddings, portraits, families, newborns, and maternity. Connect with her for your next photo session!
Our spotlight non-profit this month is Florida Hospital Carrollwood. They are committed to improving the quality of life of their patients, family, friends, and neighbors. We would like to feature them this month during their efforts to build a Breast Wellness Centre that would allow them to further that commitment by offering preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for breast cancer to their patients and the local community. I'd love to share the words below from Tony Laforgia, their Executive Director of the Florida Hospital Carrollwood Foundation:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I know it’s hard to do, but can you imagine what it would be like if someone in your family was diagnosed with breast cancer? Think of how your world would change if you suddenly lost your mother, sister, or sibling. Sadly, breast cancer impacts thousands in our community each year, and access to comprehensive treatment centers as well as the latest medical equipment that can help with early diagnosis isn’t available in many areas.
Sadly, many families in our community are facing the devastating challenges that these problems can pose.
Together we can change this.
The Florida Hospital Carrollwood Foundation is working on raising funds to develop a new Breast Wellness Center in our community that will provide holistic care and the latest in diagnostic medical technology.
Our goal this holiday season is to raise $82,000 for the first major purchase of a breast ultrasound machine for the center, and your donation can help!
Please consider a donation toward this goal as you plan your end of year giving. You can positively impact the lives of those in your local community, and perhaps even the lives of friends and family.
Visit www.floridahospital.com/carrollwood/foundation to make a charitable contribution.
Please also the video link below for more information about our project and its chairman, Paul Dombroski.
You can chat with some of the amazing people supporting this effort at our next Girls Night Out event on Dec. 4th at Bahama Breeze in Lutz/Wesley Chapel.
Additionally, for general questions or to inquire about a sponsorship please contact the Foundation office at Florida Hospital Carrollwood
Executive Director - Tony LaForgia
Phone- (813) 957-7224
Florida Hospital Carrollwood is a 501 (c)(3) charitable, non-profit organization.
My family is always looking for great day trips from the Tampa area. I recently had the opportunity to explore Sarasota, and I am so excited to share some of their amazing attractions with you. My drive from the north part of Tampa was only about 90 minutes, which I consider the perfect distance for a day trip. If you’d rather make a weekend of it and explore further, I have a great recommendation for accommodations!
St. Armands Circle
Fun fact – my family and I lived in Longboat Key when I was six years old. My school bus drove through St. Armands Circle every day, but at only six years old, I did not appreciate the draw of this great area. St. Armand’s is boasts luxury shopping and delicious restaurants, and hosts unique events throughout the year. When I visited in November, the 30th Annual St. Armands Art Festival was underway with large crowds, but an impressive 175 artists and craftsman displaying their work.
Do not miss St. Armands’ restaurants when you visit! We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Tommy Bahama Restaurant (yes, that Tommy Bahama!), where we ate their World Famous Coconut Shrimp, Filet Mignon Flatbread, incredible Pina Colada Cake, and so much more! Want to enjoy a taste of Tommy Bahamas at home? Check out this recipe for their Happy “Huladays” Cocktail!
I loved our visit to The Ringling! Initially, I thought the museum was simply going to display the history of the Ringling Circus. It turns out that circus life is only the focus of the Circus Museum portion of The Ringling. While we did begin our tour by viewing scaled models depicting every detail of circus life in the fictional Howard Bros. Circus, then walking through artifacts from the circus life, The Ringling itself has so much more to offer. When I return with my family, we could very well spend all of our time viewing and experiencing the circus displays, but there is so much more to see!
The grounds are also home to Mable’s rose garden, John and Mable Ringling’s 56-room home Ca’ d’Zan on Sarasota Bay, and the impressive Museum of Art. Ca' d'Zan was the winter home of the Ringlings, one of America's richest couples. The opulence has to be seen to be believed, and there are various tours available to view different areas of the home.
I truly had no idea the Museum of Art had such an extensive collection. I was reminded of my visits to European art galleries with pieces ranging throughout history.
The location of The Ringling is itself a beautiful setting. I am eager to bring my family back to the grounds to leisurely walk along the paths among the banyan trees. For more information about The Ringling and ticket information, visit their website: https://www.ringling.org/.
Sarasota has an amazing selection of hotels and resorts to enjoy your stay. My top pick for an easy trip to explore the area is Lido Beach Resort. Their rooms are comfortable and clean efficiencies with kitchenettes, and the gulf-front location can simply not be beat. They have a beautiful quiet beach, lovely lush grounds, and one of the best brunches in the south according to Southern Living! We enjoyed their shuttle service to St. Armands just a few minutes away, and we weren’t far from The Ringling in Sarasota.
More Ideas for the Day
Celebrate the holidays with the Tommy Bahama Happy “Huladays” cocktail. Refreshing and original, the Happy “Huladays” cocktail is a nice alternative from eggnog and more traditional holiday drinks. A combination of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, cranberry ginger syrup and lemon juice is topped off with some prosecco for a sparkling touch will tingle your taste buds and have you feeling the holiday spirit in no time. The handcrafted Happy “Huladays” cocktail can be enjoyed at any Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar or Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar. You can also prepare at home using the recipe provided below.
Happy "Huladays" Cocktail
1.5 parts Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
1 part Cranberry Ginger Syrup (see below)
0.5 parts lemon juice
1 part Prosecco
Cranberry Ginger Syrup:
Combine 10 oz cranberries with 8 oz water, 8 oz sugar, and 5 thumb-sized pieces of peeled ginger, and cook for about 10 minutes in a saucepan on low-medium heat. Leave one piece of ginger in the mix and blend thoroughly. Do not strain. Store in a squeeze bottle.
In a mixing glass, add rum, cranberry ginger syrup, and lemon juice. Shake, with ice, in a mixing tin. Add prosecco and gently strain into glass. Garnish with cranberry and mind sprig, and enjoy!
Get excited, Monster truck fans! Monster Jam® is returning to Tampa for two shows: Saturday, January 12, 2019 and February 2, 2019 at Raymond James Stadium. The 2019 season will bring a new level of high-flying, four-wheel excitement to the entire family with racing, two-wheel skills and freestyle competitions. Monster Jam events are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at $15 each. Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered not only the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, but the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines capable of doing backflips, vertical two-wheel skills and racing at speeds up to 70 miles per hour to produce jaw-dropping, live motor sports action seen around the world.
Now across all Monster Jam events, fans in every city will have the chance to vote for the winner in the two-wheel and freestyle competitions by real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones. Fans also have the opportunity to get up close and personal to the Monster Jam trucks and drivers by purchasing a Pit Party pass that allows them early access to the event for photo opportunities and autographs. The Tampa shows will feature Monster Jam’s most popular monster trucks including: Grave Digger, Brodozer, Max-D and El Toro Loco. Each show each will feature a different monster truck line up. For more details on Monster Jam’s full truck lineup, please visit www.monsterjam.com.
SHOW DETAILS: Saturday, January 12, 2019
Pit Party Early Access starting at 1:30pm
Pit Party from 2:30pm–5:30pm
Show begins at 7:00pm
Saturday, February 2, 2019
Pit Party Early Access starting at 1:30pm
Pit Party from 2:30pm–5:30pm
Show begins at 7:00pm
LOCATION: Raymond James Stadium 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway Tampa, FL 33607
TICKETS: Tickets start at $15
Pit Party Early Access starts at $35 per person, General Pit Party Passes start at $20 each Tickets & Pit Passes will be available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the Raymond James Stadium Box Office in advance. **ticket prices subject to change –venue/ticketing fees may apply. Same day event ticket and pit pass required for entry to pit party.
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!