The Pasco County Fair Returns!

Growing up as a child, there was a week we considered a holiday unto itself. No, it wasn’t Christmas week or spring break – but it sure was right up there with the heavyweight anticipations. The allure of children’s laughter and the smell of cotton candy and other delights filled the air. I guess deep down, I still get a tingle of excitement that brings the memories back to mind.

It’s that time of year again, February 15-21, when the 69th Annual Pasco County Fair makes its reappearance in Dade City, Florida. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 12. Parking is free.

Monday kicks off the festivities (parade in downtown Dade City at 1 p.m.) of what’s sure to be a success for not only fair organizers but also for area businesses that have a trained eye for opportunity. The event is expected to bring in much-needed revenue to an area being touted as up-and-coming through many planned improvements.

Toss in troops of happy children for good measure and everyone wins.


Speaking of the kids, I recall never having to wonder how we got there, or the stress that was brought on by large crowds. So since the adults are picking up the slack, I thought some helpful tips would be of great use, especially for locals. For area businesses? They should also take some notes.

I didn’t look any further for information than lifelong resident, Jenny Timms. Having raised children in Dade City to boot, it made sense to give her my undivided attention; and as an employee at Saint Leo University, she also has advice for those looking to visit the campus during fair week.

Here is Jenny’s tips:

*  Be patient. The fair only comes around once a year and people (especially kids) are excited and may cut in line, walk in front of you, or be in your way.

*  Walk past the food at the entrance. The rides are at the back of the fair. Eat on the way out or take a break to nosh.

*  The exhibits are free, but some shows are not. Experience the “small town” feel of the fair by viewing the exhibits made by area school children, civic groups, and non-profit organizations. The exhibit halls are also great areas to escape weather elements. Most years, it rains at least one day of the fair.

*  The Dade City area, in general, is going to be busier than usual during fair week. Avoid State Road 52 by the fairgrounds.

-To travel to Saint Leo/San Antonio, drive down Saint Joe Road
to Happy Hill Road. Turn right onto SR 52.

-Another alternate route is Smith Road to Clinton Avenue.
Turn left from Smith to travel to US 301.

*  Avoid fast food restaurants immediately after school/work, as well as immediately after the midway closes. Many “locals” avoid the high prices of fair food and instead treat their children to a hamburger.

*  The Fair ends on Sunday, meaning many of the “good” rides don’t leave the fair until Monday. Unfortunately for us, that translates into the rides not arriving in time for opening day.

*  The midway offers unlimited rides all week (prices vary). View the Pasco County Fair Association’s webpage for information, including hours of operation, prices, and special events.

*  The parade will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 15. Avoid all areas of downtown Dade City. If you must travel to this area, use Locke Street to 301 to US 98, or Clinton Avenue to 301.

*  Be watchful of pedestrian traffic – especially young teenagers. School is closed on Monday (President’s Day) and many children will be headed from the parade to the fairgrounds between 2 and 3 p.m. Avoid Florida Avenue, Meridian Avenue, and especially SR 52.

Kudos to Jenny Timms – I would have never thought of all that!

As a reminder to drivers again, please be mindful of the children as they’re close to the roadways and may otherwise be distracted. Safety first, Dade City!

Have fun!


Posted on February 13, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: