Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam, along with Attorney General Pam Bondi and first responders, today kicked-off the Florida State Fair with the annual “flip the switch” ceremony, turning on the fair’s lights for the first time this year.
Opening day is “Salute to Heroes” day, and it continues the longstanding tradition of welcoming active duty military, veterans and first responders free of charge in recognition of their service to Florida and the nation.
First responder and law enforcement agencies present during the “flip the switch” ceremony included:
- Florida National Guard
- Florida Highway Patrol
- Hillsborough County Fire Rescue
- Tampa Fire Rescue
- Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
- Florida Forest Service
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement
Many new attractions are making their first national appearance at the Florida State Fair, as Florida is home to the first state fair of the year. The fair unveiled the largest traveling Ferris wheel, the Midway Sky Eye, in its North American debut. It boasts a height of 155 feet, and riders can see farther than 15 miles when situated at the top of the wheel. Other additions to the Florida State Fair include the Street Fighter 360 and the New Super Slide, which stands 60 feet tall and 180 feet long.
The Florida State Fair also showcases Florida’s livestock, poultry and fresh produce. More than 5,000 animals will be shown in competitions throughout the fair, with more than 1,500 FFA and 4-H participants. Fairgoers have the opportunity to learn about Florida’s agricultural process from numerous educational activities, such as orange juice tasting, hydroponic demonstrations and meal planning.
This year marks the 113th anniversary of the Florida State Fair. The first Florida State Fair was held in 1904 near Henry Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel, which is now the site of the University of Tampa, and it moved to its current location in 1977.
Photo caption: Commissioner Adam H. Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chairman of the Florida State Fair Authority Doyle Carlton with first responders to “flip the switch” for the 113th Florida State Fair.