Travel Diary
February 13, 2003
Tampa, FL

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Tampa is about an hour north of where we're parked. It made for an easy road trip to the Florida State Fair. The state fairgrounds covers over 300 acres, and there was plenty to see and eat.

We wondered if the Florida State Fair would be any different than other fairs we have been to. It wasn't. And that's OK with us, because it meant we got to see a nice collection of farm animals, and fun exhibitors selling radical new cookware and knives that never go dull. Oh, and as you might expect, there was plenty of food.

Our favorite food of the fair was the pickle dog. A pickle dog is a hot dog (or polish sausage) on a stick (of course). The dog is wrapped in a dill pickle that had its middle scooped out. Then it's dipped in corn-dog batter and fried. We were hooked even before the free sample. Here's Pete with the pickle dog.

Pete at the Pickle Me Elmo stand

For you skeptics, here's a close-up that shows the layers. We were surprised how the pickle stayed crispy, even while the hot dog got hot.

Pickle dog closeup

There was also a fine selection of more traditional fair food: funnel cakes, elephant ears, Italian sausage, pizza, etc. One of the fun parts about Florida in February is that you can still get a nice ear of sweet corn.

Mary eating roasted corn

We also tried a less-traditional fair food: the deep-fried Twinkie. This Twinkie was dipped in a strawberry flavored batter and then fried. It was curious how the cream filling got even creamier. Certainly one of the least healthy things we've ever tasted.

Deep-fried Twinkie in strawberry batter

Although we were hoping to see giant grapefruits or other prize citrus, we didn't. We did, however, see prize poultry, and livestock. There were also some neat animals in a petting zoo. Our favorites were a dozing ornamental chicken that didn't appear to have eyes, some baby goats that were only 3 weeks old, and a baby water buffalo.

Dozing chicken

Baby goats

Baby water buffalo

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