The Manatee County Fair returns to Palmetto on Thursday for 10 days of midway action, live music, livestock, awesomely fatty foods and vendors peddling all kinds of cool junk. In addition to the scary-fun rides and deep-fried decadence, the fair, an annual event that debuted in 1916, will feature everything from country music star Marty Stuart (Jan. 24) to the ever-popular pig races (daily). Seriously, don't miss the pig races and, over in the livestock arena, the chance to get up close and personal to a bovine the size of a Buick. Feeling fearless? Rock a ride but, you know, probably not right after consuming that deep-fried Snickers.
Jan. 16-26, Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto; $8 for ages 13 and older, $7 for age 55 and older, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, free for kids age 5 and younger; 722-8951 or manatee countyfair.com.