The Florida State Fair, one of the last big crowd events held locally prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, will return in 2021, taking place between February 11-22, 2021.
“Yeah, we know they postponed Gasparilla. Boo hoo, poor pirates”, says Florida State Fair Authority board member Bo ‘Bo’ Grissom. “That’s fine for those yacht-sailin’, elitist Bayshore pussies. Over here, we got livestock to judge, Tilt-A-Whirls to tilt and whirl and Oreos to deep-fry. And by God, that’s exactly what we’re gonna do!”
Grissom says face masks will be required for all guests in 2021 and that efforts will me made to limit capacity and require guests and employees to practice social distancing. “I mean, we’ll do our best”, he said. “You ever try to socially distance while in the Gravitron? It’s not gonna happen and that’s just science.”
The fair will also offer enhanced cleaning protocols and will have hand sanitizer stations throughout the fairgrounds. “But you’re still going to be peeing into troughs, so there’s that”, he said, laughing. “Sure, you go right ahead and sanitize your hands all you want.”
He added that anyone who is not feeling well will be asked to stay home. “But it’s the fair, so ‘feeling well’ is relative. Nobody ever went home after a day at the fair and said, ‘Gee, did I just meditate and do CrossFit? I feel terrific!'”, he said. “No, you leave feeling bloated, queasy and little bit ashamed of yourself, yet you’re glad you did it. Like having sex with a stranger in the bushes behind an IHOP immediately after eating a full stack of blueberry pancakes. That’s what the fair is!”
He said he understands why people might expect some consistency in approaches to event management between Gasparilla and the fair but that people need to understand that the two events are completely different in certain key areas.
“Listen, we’re fair folk. We’re one very small step up the evolutionary chain above carnies. We’re tough. If it ain’t heavily battered and deep -fried, we don’t eat it. And if we can catch it, we will heavily batter, deep-fry and eat it”, he said. “What I’m saying is we’re not your garden variety South Tampa, professional, store-bought haircut-getting pansies and we’re certainly not afraid of no flu. I already know I’m going to die of a heart attack out here, face-down in a pile of to-be-determined manure some day, probably sooner than later, and I embrace my eventual destiny”
“Your move, Strawberry Festival,” he added.