Source: The Tampa Tribune
TAMPA - Hillsborough County students won't be off Good Friday, Yom Kippur or any other religious holidays next year except Christmas, but they will have Florida State Fair Day after yet another round of public debate.
After pleas from Florida State Fair Authority officials to retain a Fair Day off with possible free admission, the board finally voted on a secular calendar. The district will retain its traditional Strawberry Festival Day for students in east Hillsborough County only - the rest get Fair Day.
Last week, board members agreed in a workshop that they were ready to end Fair Day while adding Presidents Day and a countywide Strawberry Festival Day. Some said they still think it is no longer needed, but they want more data before axing Fair Day.
"I think that we blindsided the fair," board member Jennifer Faliero said. "In all fairness, give the fair a year's notice."
A.D. "Sandy" MacKinnon, chairman of the Florida Fair Authority, said loss of Fair Day means a $125,000 loss to the fair, although he will recommend that his board approve free admission for students on Fair Day. About 63,000 people showed up on Fair Day this year compared with about 20,000 on a regular weekday, said Charles Pesano, the fair authority's executive director.