Jam Packed with Entertainment
“We have so much to offer at the Pasco County Fair. It’s hard to pick out a favorite. It’s a reason why people come,” said Tracy J. Thompson, annual fair chairman and Pasco County Fair Association director. “There really is something for everyone. At least we try really hard to do that. Most agree the entertainment fits that bill. And best yet — it’s all free with gate admission. Making the fair a real bargain.”
Daily shows include the always-popular Robinsons Racing Pigs that race the track for Oreo cookies. “We keep bringing them back each year because they are just crowd pleasers. In addition, they also swim as the “Paddling Porkers.” Thompson said.
Another must-see is the Fearless Flores Thrill Show, which features ninth- and 10th-generation performers. Ricardo and Arcadia, started their children Cyndel and Valerian, at ages 6 and 4, respectively. The family performs motorcycle madness in the legendary Globe of Death, a metal ball that has been featured on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
New outdoor shows include Dan- Dan the Farmer Man, an agriculture comedy show. Billed as “cornball comedy,” Dan-Dan and his scarecrow sidekick trade farmyard funnies, sing silly songs and interact with audiences as they educate fairgoers about agriculture.
Also educational is All About Ag where visitors can milk a cow, make a rope, shell corn, pump water, and just learn about agriculture in a fun way. Former dairy farmer Tom Umiker, of Plant City, developed the exhibit to teach about agriculture. The exhibit is most popular with older people who reminisce about their childhoods spent on family farms.
Purgatory Iron Works takes people back in time as Trenton Tye, a professional blacksmith, educates on a craft that spans back 2000 years. Tye has been featured on The History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” and fairgoers can watch Tye hammer bars of steel and transform them into useful items.
The Back Porch Theater includes Sylvia Fletcher, ventriloquist, and Extreme Illusions and Escapes, featuring Josh Knotts and Lea. The unique illusionists and escape artist team presents a high-energy, modern, theatrical show consisting of large-scale illusions and skillful escapes.
Fairground strollers include Michael Shaffer, Tree of Life, a realistic, 11-1/2-foot tree on stilts based on the mythical Green Man, the male counterpart of Mother Nature and Danny Grant’s Cowboy Circus with cowboy tricks, guitar pickin’, comedy, and juggling — all with crowd participation.
The Miss Heart of Florida Pageant is Monday, Feb 19 at 7 p.m, featuring Pasco County girls between the ages of 6 through 17. The Showcase of Talent contest will feature finalists in various age groups at 7 p.m. Feb. 20, with group competition at 7 p.m. Feb. 23, in the Dan Cannon auditorium.
Bluegrass music will fill the auditorium Feb. 21 at the popular Little Roy and Lizzy Show returns. Multi-talented Little Roy Lewis, of Lincolnton, GA, has been “cuttin’ the fool” with his family’s musical group since a youngster. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Long, also playing multiple instruments since childhood in Lincolnton, has an extraordinary voice that shimmers with the strains of America’s musical roots. The Little Roy and Lizzy Show will begin at 6 p.m.
Gospel Music Night begins at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the auditorium and features two well-known award-winning groups: The Freemans and The Kingsmen.
Family harmony, powerful presence and a timeless message has been the focus of The Freemans for more than three decades of singing Southern Gospel Music. Hailing from Nashville, The Freemans have recorded more than 25 albums, multiple DVDs, and are featured in live concerts. Seven number one songs have topped the Singing News charts, as well as more than 20 Top 10 songs including “Three Rugged Crosses.” The song is still requested at all their concerts, Thompson said.
Joining them will be The Kingsmen. Beginning more than a half century ago, The Kingsmen rose from a humble beginning in 1956 in the mountains of western North Carolina to one of the most beloved and innovative groups in Christian music. They have garnered multi Dove and Singing News awards and performed before presidents. Today the Kingsmen includes 2008 Hall of Fame inductee Ray Dean Reese; his son, Brandon Reese; Randy Crawford; Bob Sellers; and Joshua Horrell.
Chris Rodrigues and Abby the Spoon Lady will be featured Feb. 24 and 25. The duo is a viral hit with their YouTube videos having more than 3.4 million views. Rodrigues, a one-man band and multi-instrumentalist, carved out his own unique blues Appalachian style. Abby the Spoon Lady is a folk percussionist, storyteller, and one of few professional spoon players in the United States. Both live in the Asheville, NC, area. Together the two create complex rhythms, playing not only original songs but rework and bring new life to classic gospel songs. They will be featured on the food court at 12:30 and at outdoor stage near the ag barn at 3:30 p.m.
The Miss Pasco Princess and Mister Pasco Prince Pageant gets underway in Dan Cannon Auditorium at noon Feb. 24. The pageant is open to newborns through 5-year-old children who live in Pasco County. They will be judged in the age groups: newborn to 1; 1 year; 2 and 3; and 4 and 5. A winner and runner-up will be selected in each age group for boys and girls. The winners receive crowns and trophies. Runners-up receive trophies. The entry fee is $35 if received by Feb. 16. Entry the day of the pageant is $45 and will be accepted until 11:15 a.m.
Music will again fill the auditorium following the pageant as amateurs vie for cash prizes in a karaoke contest. The contest begins at 7 p.m., with registration starting at 6 p.m. The contest is limited to the first 20 entrants age 18 or older. Judges select the top 10 from those who compete in a second round to determine 1- through 3-place. Cash prizes of $300, $200, and $100, plus trophies, will be awarded. No advance registration is available.
Pasco Fair Championship Rodeo
The 14th annual Pasco County Fair Championship Rodeo is expected to bring hundreds to the fair Feb. 23 and 24. Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, the Dade City event includes the events of bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, and barrel racing. The rodeo Feb. 23 gets underway at 8 p.m. with the theme “Tough Enough to Wear Pink,” focusing on breast cancer awareness. The Feb. 24 rodeo at 2:30 p.m. is a tribute to the military.
The closing day of the fair features amateur boxers in Dan Cannon Auditorium, beginning at 2 p.m.
Fair Food and Spaghetti Eating Contest
The Pasco County Fair Food Court features nearly everything anyone could image at a fair and some they couldn’t image, said Tracy Thompson. That includes the traditional corndogs, pizza, cotton candy. But new this year is fried banana splits, Cajun fried chicken, cinnamon rolls, bread pudding and baked potatoes.
“While it’s always debatable why people come to the fair, it’s not debatable that most leave with a full stomach,” Thompson said. “The smell alone makes your mouth water.”
“We have a great group of food vendors, most who have been coming for years,” Thompson said. That includes “Spaghetti Eddie” Porcelli.
Spaghetti Eddie is sponsoring a spaghetti-eating contest at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Back Porch Theater. The contest is open to the first 10 participates that sign up at the stage that day. Entry is free and open to contestants age 16 and older. The winner will be determined by who eats his or her 1/2-pound of spaghetti with sauce and meatball the fastest – with a big wooden spoon. The winner will earn a trophy and large pizza from Spaghetti Eddie’s on the food court.
Fair Admission and Wristbands
All entertainment at the fair is free with gate admission. Gate admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children age 6 through 12. Children 5 and younger are free. Parking is free. Advance discount tickets are available online at www.pascocountyfair.com for $8 for adults and $4 for children through Feb. 18. With an advance ticket a fairgoer can bring another person free on Feb. 20. Feb. 25, closing day, also features an admission special where a child gets in free with a paid adult.
Advance midway ride wristbands are also available online through FEb. 18 for $16 for Feb. 19 through 22 and $20 for Feb. 23 through 25. The wristbands are $20 and $25, respectively, on the fairgrounds.
Fair hours are: 2 to 11 p.m., Feb. 19; 4 to 11 p.m., Feb. 20 through 22; 4 p.m. to midnight, Feb. 23; 10 a.m. to midnight, Feb. 24; and noon to 7 p.m., Feb. 25.
The Pasco County Fairgrounds is located just west of downtown Dade City at 36722 State Road 52, 9 miles east of Interstate 75. For more information, visit the website: www.pascocountyfair.com or call the Fair Office, (352) 567-6678.