Tampa State Fair


I'm coming over from England at the beginning of February for 10 days and will be including a visit to Tampa State Fair where I believe there will be some coasters.

Does anyone know what coasters will be there and, as important, who coasters they are so I can 'tick' them off. Yes, I'm a sad coaster counter!

Any help appreciated.



Hi, Robin.

I go to the Florida State Fair just about every year, and it's a great time. For rides, anyway. The fair itself is just so-so, emphasis seems to be on rides and food. (and ain't nothin wrong with that...)

It's an independent midway, so rides are booked in from all over and the list can vary. Rides new to the traveling circuit often make their debut there. Typically, recently, the midway has featured several coasters, the biggest of which is the RC-48. It's a large, one of a kind Pinfari portable that originally operated at Morey's in New Jersey, and is now owned by Wade Shows, I believe. I like the ride, but reviews here have been mixed. You might also find a couple of Zyklon-type rides, each with slightly different layouts, and there's always a spinning Crazy Mouse. One year the refurbished, traveling Windstorm coaster appeared, but it was down the day I was there. (I rode it later that same year in Dallas). There's usually a portable flume ride as well.

Sometime closer to the run the list of planned (subject to change, of course) rides appears on the Florida State Fair website. I checked for it one day last week and couldn't find it. It might be up now.

If you can, plan your visit around a POP wristband day, especially if you enjoy flats and funhouses and want to do it all. On non-wristband days the cost to ride can add up fast, as individual tickets can be 6 or 7 bucks each for spectaculars. There's a TON of rides on the midway, from mild to wild. It's one of the best shows in the country. And now that I've said that, I hope it compares favorably to the fantastic traveling fun fairs I'm sure you attend in England and across Europe.

Have fun. We'll be in Orlando, Florida the week of Valentine's day and I hope to make it over to Tampa again.

Thanks for that. It looks like I should be able to have a good day there which I'm looking forward to (really looking forward to coming to America anyway)

I plan to go on the Tuesday 11th (not sure if that is a POP wristband day, hopefully it will be) My main aim is the coasters, the flat rides and funhouses I can take or leave them, so by the sound of it there should be a few new coasters for me to ride and tick off.

Last edited by Coaster-Robin,

Oh, you're welcome.
I've searched the FSF website and it seems to be under construction, perhaps they're updating for the upcoming event. The wristband days are few, if I recall from my previous search, and that Tuesday doesn't stand out in my mind as being one. There's a Sunday or two, valentines day maybe. Keep checking though, the calendar and everything will be done next day or so I'm sure.
The flats they have, although many, probably don't compare to the big European midways, anyway. There's a Tango, Enterprise, Stinger, Sky Wheel, (probably 6 or 7 ferris wheels in all), Big Ben drop tower, Magnum (which you might know as Shake or Commander), Rave, a few Himalaya rides (best of which is Hit in 2000, fastest one ever), a Huss Flipper (called Tornado) and a bunch of those swinging claw rides, to name a few. Last years new rides were the Air Raid, Fun Factory (my favorite), a tall vertical swing, and the Big Bamboo funhouse, (an attempt at one of those huge elaborate funhouses you find everywhere in Europe). Our portable dark rides and funhouses over here tend to suck, usually.

Hopefully, the coaster menu will be enough to entertain you for a while.

I'm assuming you're really here for Busch? Disney? Universal? Sea World? All of em?

Yes the trip was planned around coasters in Florida. When I was told the Tampa State Fair was going to be on it seemed rude not to include it. So my trip is very full on for 11 days as follows:-

Flying in Sunday night. Orlando hotel
Monday and Tuesday - Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Wednesday and Thursday - both Universal Parks. (possibly Funspot America or Seaworld depending)
Friday - Funspot America and Seaworld.
Saturday - Kennedy Space Center.
Sunday Drive - Legoland, Clearwater. Tampa Hotel.
Monday - Busch Gardens. Back to Tampa Hotel.
Tuesday - Busch Gardens, Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa State Fair. Back to Tampa Hotel.
Wednesday - Funspot USA and Old Town Kissimmee. Funspot America. Airport fly home 19.50.

The fair has 3 coasters and one coaster that's just a circle and does loops, so really 4 coasters. The fair offers many shows which are all free once to pay to enter the fair. On Thursday I saw the 1970's band America, free with fair admission. Very good show. Be sure to look at their website for info about their shows and entertainment. Visit and feed the giraffe, really neat and it costs just $1 for several carrot sticks. They have a circus show, many live bands, racing pigs, sea lions, alligator wrestler, bears, ect. Interesting to see Cracker Country, it's free, and it's real homes and buildings from the 1800's. It's part of the fairgrounds.

BTW; it's called the Florida State Fair. You'll find their website by searching it by it's real name.

Last edited by CoasterGoddess,

Did you ride the horse with no name?

One of those coasters is a "new" attraction for the fair this year, Comet ll. It's owned by Murphy Brothers Exhibition, and is billed as the country's only traveling coaster of it's type. Those of us still in a snit over Cedar Point would be glad to see this operating Schwarzkopf Wildcat. (although Murphy lists the manufacturer as Pinfari, which is clearly not the case)

The Super Loops? Fireball? (whatever the name is) you mention should be classified as a flat, please, not a coaster.

rollergator's avatar

We went on Sunday.

Comet II is billed as the largest travelling coaster in the US, and is running WELL. RC-48 is moderately better than it was in NJ...but it still hurts. The spinning mouse (Zamperla) was also delivering quite a punch - although I could have done without ALL the extra spinning at the end. If you're *counting* then there were two kiddie coaster, a Wacky Worm and a Dragon Wagon.

The selection of flats was INSANE. From the KMG Spin Out to Magnum to Speed, Zipper, Fighter, Fireball, an army of Ferris Wheels, and the awesome Stinger (a typical swing-n-spin ride until the seats unlock). I got to try out no less than 5 or 6 "spectaculars" that I had only seen before...would definitely recommend the FL State fair. The only clearly better one I've attended was Puyallup, and I'd put it one *small* notch below the OH State Fair (but with better coasters).

edited to add: Both Crazy Cat and RC-48 are Pinfairs, so that might have been a source of confusion. Both Wade and Reithoffer are there with most if not all all of their really good stuff, and a batch of smaller operators brought in a couple extra here and there. Tornado, I believe, is the same Husss Flipper I rode with AV Matt at Adventurer's (the old Nellie Bly park). Add Orbiter, SkyFlyer and a bunch of other rides too numerous to name....what a BLAST!

Last edited by rollergator,

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

I'd put it one big notch over Ohio. Due to the fact Florida's fair is independent, plus the carnivals over winter in FL, they have a much better list of spectaculars, I think. I'm going to drive over to Tampa on Thursday and hit the fair. It's not an armband day, so my actual ride count will be limited, but I'll try a few I'm sure. And eat.

I watched that Stinger ride last year for quite a while before I got up the nerve to try it. The spinning and looping was fun, disorienting, but when it got to the swinging, seat flipping second half I was hanging on for dear life. I think Martin's Fantasy Island put in a ride like that last year.

Mr Gator, what other new first-time rides did you try there?

rollergator's avatar

New to me flats: Stinger, Spin-Out, Speed, Magnum, Fighter (nauseating!), Tango (KMG version of Top Scan), and one other whose name eludes me right now...it was along the midway on the south side just east of the Zamperla mouse and Super Himalaya. There was also a world's worst dark ride that had two stunts - one of them ill-timed, lighting and buzzing * after* the car had passed. Worth < 1 ticket, LOL.

edited to note: Several rides, like the Tango, I had been on other manufacturer's versions before. I made special note of Tango because I simply LOVE the Top Scan ride....this one threw me around quite a bit. :~)

New coasters (no more counting for me): Crazy Cat, Comet II, and possibly the Zamperla mouse. Skipped Dragon Wagon and Wacky Worm (alothugh we DID try the latter).

One of the downsides: The wristbands require scanning for each ride, and the scanners were dying constantly. On the Skyflyer, the op decided it wasn't worth his time and gave up, just making sure riders HAD bands. Several other rides, like the Wacky Worm, simply shut down until they could get new batteries for their malfunctioning scanners.

Last edited by rollergator,

Wade Shows lists RC-48, Comet II, Crazy Cat, Wacky Worm, and Dragon Wagon as belonging to them.


rollergator - were you denied on the Wacky Worm?

rollergator's avatar

Not denied - just the op wouldn't crank the ride until he got his scanner gizmo fixed, and had no idea how long that would take, so we bailed. Since I don't keep count any more, not really a big deal to me. I saw adults riding both of them, so they're accessible. Comet II - that was special....

Oh, and it's gator, or Bill....(only my mom calls me William)... ;~)

Cool, thanks for that.

Timber-Rider's avatar

That's weird. Two fairs here in Michigan have wade shows with wristbands, and I don't recall them having to be scanned. Though for the crappy selection of rides they have had here lately, even the all day wristband isn't worth it.

The Ionia fair used to have some really good rides, but the selection has been pretty lousy. None of the cool stuff you guys are talking about. Ionia did have a galaxy type coaster, similar to the one at Indiana beach, and the log flume. But little or no thrill rides. The zipper, fireball, and orbiter were about it, though they had an upcharge screaming swing, that you could not use your wristband on, and a drop tower.

Allegan used to have the better selection, but last time was pitiful. Though their concert lineup was really good. Kiss and Motley Crue, Kid Rock, and Justin Beber. (Though I hate Justin Beber) Some good country acts, and Papa Roach whoever that is. I think Bill Dunham too.

I have seen a lot of good concerts at Allegan. Poison, Def Leppard/Joan Jett. I was also there when Brittany Spears was there, taking my friends daughter. That concert also included 98 degrees. I did see the Kiss/Motley Crue show, which was quite wild for a fair show.

I didn't do it! I swear!!

LostKause's avatar

Papa Roach? "Cut my life into pieces, This is my last resort. Suffocation, no meaning. Don't give a F@*& if I cut my arms bleeding."

They have a few really good songs. Check them out if you get a chance.


Last edited by LostKause,
Jeff's avatar


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

rollergator's avatar

The "missing" ride whose name I had misplaced...has been found. Tekno....er, Techno Power. Too much backward-facing spinning motion, like Fighter....when I'm spinning on a single plane, VASTLY prefer going forward.

There was also a Top Spin, another ride like KMG's Fireball (inferior product, *wink*), a skyride, and way too many ferris wheels...on further reflection, RCMAC is right - I think it was better than Ohio's State Fair.

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Absolutely. Thanks for the info, Mr. Gator. I think I'm gonna go Thursday for sure, now. I need me a Wildcat ride if nothing else.
Magnum is one of my favorite flat rides ever, but I've never had the nerve to try Tango.

And in answer to the wristband thing, (T-R), Florida went with a cashless system for the first time this year. They have very few POP wristband days, so it's not the same as the old way like your Michigan fairs where a wristband means everyone rides. Instead, patrons load their cash on their band and scan it at each pay-per-ride attraction and the cost is subtracted til they run out and have to reload. I don't know if food or games is included in the plan, but rides is for sure. And it sounds like a bad idea for now, at least from the technical aspect. The reason the Wacky Worm carny wouldn't budge is because they don't get paid for riders if they don't scan them. A pitfall of the independent midway, maybe.

Texas has had a cashless system for years now, but they have you buy sheets of tiny, tiny tickets, each worth .50. Each ride, game, and some food requires you to pay with your tiny tickets. Its probably an effort to keep everyone honest, as the fair gets a cut of the action. I know we came home from Texas with tickets in our pockets, so in the end the fair is the winner all around.

Iowa (a huge fair) had announced that the cashless system would be used for the first time this year, then it was pulled. We have friends who are vendors there and I guess the outcry from the public and vendors was such that it caused the fair commission to change their minds.

I hope to go on either Friday or Saturday.

Would anyone be interested in meeting up?

Last edited by Richard Bannister,
Jeff's avatar

Let me know if you're at WDW. :)

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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