Friday, February 7, 2014

Florida State Fair 2014

Hey everyone!

Yesterday, my parents and I went to the 110th Florida State Fair. The last time we were there it was the fair's 100th anniversary, so this was a special treat for us. We had a lot of fun, and were there for over 6 hours. By the time we were done walking around, our feet were hurting so bad that we were happy, but sad, to head home.

I can't wait to do it all over again next year!

Once we were inside, we headed straight for the chocolate covered strawberries. Trust me, they were absolutely delicious and the best I've ever had. Unfortunately, I ate them all before I took a picture.

After the quick pit stop, we headed over to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Barn.

This is an older fire truck that was used in fighting forest fires. I actually think it looks really cool!

In Florida, they used this contraption in the early years of logging.

Next, we headed into the museum dedicated to the Florida Cracker culture. Now, if you don't know what Crackers mean, then let me explain. Original ranchers from Florida used whips that made crackling sounds during herding; henceforth, the name Crackers.

I absolutely love horse back riding. Just look at the intricate detailing in the leather.

This is an old style forge that the cowboys used in order to heat up their branding rods. These rods would leave permanent marks on the cows' hides. So that during drives, ranchers would be able to tell their cattle from the others.

Here is a look at an authentic stuffed Criollo, aka Florida Cracker Cow, aka Florida Scrub Cow. This breed was brought to the U.S. by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th Century, and are the oldest and rarest in the states.

The Fish & Wildlife exhibit had several different animals to see. Sadly, my photos of the Black Bear and Cougar didn't come out good due to lighting.

This is a closeup of the invasive Lionfish, which was introduced to our Florida waters. It poses a significant threat to our native marine life and ecosystem, because it has no natural predators.

After these exhibits, we went to our favorite place... Cracker Country! This section of the fair gives the sense of how life was for the families that settled Florida in the 1800's. All of the buildings are authentic, and through generous donations were relocated to their permanent location inside the fair grounds.

This is the Dry Goods Store, where you would go to purchased things such as canned goods, brooms, sugar, and like items. I've included some pictures from inside the store that I think you all will find interesting!

Coffee being weighed.

Shelves stacked with canned goods and old time Cracker Jack!

More shelves stocked full.

Barrels containing brooms and gardening supplies.

After the dry goods store, we headed on over to the Old School House!

Here you can see a teacher and student at the front telling visitors all about Florida back in the 1800's.

See these desks and chairs? I'm glad I didn't have to sit in one of them!

After the Old School House, we went by one of the highlights of the entire fair!

The Beef Jerky stand! This stand makes the best beef jerky ever, and we loaded up with 8 bags in different flavors!

There is even an old smokehouse on site, where the Beef Jerky Man makes his own smoked hams and such!

Can you tell we really like our beef jerky?

After the smokehouse, I went and toured an actual home! 

Take a look at this beautiful quilt.

A mother and daughter were demonstrating how the women spent their free time.

Cracker Country operates a quaint general store, where you can purchase items items made specifically for the area! We picked up a few things, and even something for Lauren!

This little post office use to actually function, until USPS closed it down two years ago, due to budget cuts.

Here are a few candid shots around Cracker Country, so that you can get more of a feel for the place!

This is sugarcane growing!

I couldn't leave Cracker Country without getting some delicious boiled peanuts!

After Cracker Country, we were starting to get hungry, so we headed on over to the best place (in my opinion!) for french fries!

We split the bucket of fries, but once again, I forgot to take a picture! You have to trust me, they were delicious!

Once we finished our fries and drinks, we saw that the Bear Show had a special viewing, so we went over to see!

Here is Andy relaxing in his little pool with his red ball.

This is Carol giving kisses to one of the trainers!

Carol grinning and waiting for her treats, which happened to be dog treats! Her and Andy loved them!

After watching the bears, we headed on over the the livestock area to see the horse competitions. Most of the horses were glammed up for their shows, and a few were out to be seen and photographed.

After the horses, we headed on over to the petting/feeding tent, which was called the Mooternity Ward, since most of the animals there were due to give birth! We even saw baby goats just moments after being born! We had so much fun petting the animals and feeding them!

So cute!

That goose posed so good, I just had to take its picture!

This watsui was the sweetest animal in the entire tent! All she wanted to do was relax and eat hay! Look at those horns!


A mama goat with her little kids!

Another fabulous pose! 

This cow was as tall as me!

Afterwards, we walked over to an exotic petting tent.

Beautiful donkeys! The grey one loved to get scratched on its cheek!

Twiggs the Giraffe stole the show for me! Look how stunning he is! 

And I got to feed him!! They had carrot sticks for sale inside, and I managed to get this amazing photo of me feeding him one! I will always remember this day! It cost my mom $5.00 in carrots. Thanks Mom!

This little guy stole my heart! He was so sweet and gentle when feeding him. And look at his coat, he's simply gorgeous! Do you see his teeth? They're pearly white!

After being dragged away from the animal tent (and washing our hands 6 times) we saw that the Sea Lion show was in full swing!

Look how tall they are!

I was lucky enough to catch this on camera! Look how cute he is!

They did stunts in the water such as flipping. 

And jumping to touch the ball with their noses.

After the Sea Lion show, we walked over to the Steam House. This area shows you parts that function off of steam.

They also have these bird houses hanging from the rafters. Look at the detail!

Out on the deck, I took this photo of the backside of Cracker Country. 

Here are a few random shots I took of the midway at the fair!

I might get me one of these hats next time I'm there!

Delicious foods as far as the eye can see!

Fruit smoothies, I'm getting one next time too!

After we got home and had dinner, I decided to show you all what we purchased and brought home with us!

Pork Rinds! These are another must have when in Cracker Country! They are nothing but crunchy, tasty, fried bits of heaven! We got 3 bags of barbeque and one plain.

Here is what they look like up close! Jealous? You should be!

Remember me talking about the Beef Jerky? Well here they are! We picked up 8 bags, but I thought I'd show you the four flavors they have: Mild & Tasty, Spicy, Hot, and Teriyaki! All of them are amazing!

Here is one of the homemade items we picked up in Cracker Country! It's Pink Grapefruit Marmalade! I can't wait to try it out!

Florida is known for its Orange Blossoms, and Orange Blossom Honey is the absolute best! So, we picked up a jar for only $6.00! Talk about a great buy!

Here are the other items we bought from the Cracker Country General Store. The stick candy is specially done for the fair, and I got the flavors Sassafras, Butterscotch, Lemon, Horehound, and Root Beer! We also got a cookie press, which helps you flatten cookies and stamp an image on them. This one has a rooster on it. Also, I got a Genuine Alligator Tooth! Very cool!

A fair day wouldn't be complete without some cotton candy!

Alessi had a large stand inside the expo hall, so mom got half a cuban sandwich to bring home! She said it was so good, she should have gotten the full one!

Look how pretty it is warmed up!

Last but not least, I dipped a candle at Cracker Country for only $1.00! It was a lot of fun, and a great souvenir!

I loved my day at the fair, and I have some great memories that I will keep with me forever! I can't wait to make more memories next year!


Note: We paid for everything ourselves. We are not associated with any company mentioned above. I just wanted to share my day with ya'll!


Lauren Alice said...

WOW! Looks like you had an amazing time! Those piglets were SO cute - totally my favourite animal. I love fairs and festivals but this looks massive in comparison to any I've ever been to! x