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88th annual Lee County Fair to open Friday

By Staff | Feb 18, 2012

The 88th annual Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair begins Friday, Feb. 24, and runs through Sunday, March 4, at the Lee Civic Center.

Hours vary.

Fair Board Member Kelly Palmer, who is also the owner of Hayloft Western Wear in Fort Myers, is excited about this year’s fair.

“We will also have the livestock exhibits that are so popular each year. This is where old friends meet and the fun begins.”

Food, games and rides are always the most popular attractions to the fair.

“One of the key attractions this year will be the first time U.S. premiere of a new ride called The Spinner, provided by long-time ride vendor Reithoffer Shows,” he said.

“Another thing new is the Seal Show. The seals will put on acrobatics and we will have two to three shows a day featuring them.”

Coming back is the Shark Encounter Show, and Extreme Canines that have been popular in the past.

“Both are great shows,” he said.

His heart is in the animal and livestock exhibitions. He sponsored 4-H for many years.

“My daughter, Michelle Musco, had a Grand Champion in 1988, and now her children are showing goats and a steer.

“The Swine Show is Sunday, and we have roughly 150 hogs. The Steer Show is Thursday, March 1, and the livestock auction is Saturday, March 3, at 2 p.m. The goat show and beef breeding show is Saturday night, Feb. 25.”

There are always crafts and school exhibits.

“We have something for everybody; we have the rides, food and more rides,” he said.

The popular “Moonlight Madness” nights this year are Friday, Feb. 24, and Friday, March 2, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with unlimited rides for $20.

On Monday, Feb. 27, there is free admission on Harry Chapin Food Bank Night, with free admission offered with two cans of food donation per person.

The Cape Coral Breeze and other Breeze Newspapers papers will sponsor unlimited ride nights on Wednesday, Feb. 29, and Thursday, March 1, with a $2-off coupon that can be found in the print editions, including today’s Breeze where the coupon can be found on page 3A.

Many come just to enjoy the animal and other exhibits. The fair draws exhibitors from five counties from 4-H and Future Farmers of America and other participants.

For entertainment and shows, local talent is always a favorite, including the returning Ronnie Morgan, Brooke Huffmaster and The Moccasin River Band and the Del Prados.

A Matter of Faith, Buddy Walker and the Just Us Band, Chris MacArthur and the Cracker Band will also entertain, along with three children’s talent shows.

Admission is adult $7, children $4 and children under the age of five free. Parking is also free.

The Lee Civic Center is at 11831 Bayshore Rd. in North Fort Myers.

For ticket information, call the box office at 543-7469 or go to leecivicenter.com and go to fair. Pre-order tickets are available for sale until Feb. 22 at both online and at outlets including Hayloft Western Wear, Williams Hardware (east Fort Myers), Mary Lou’s Feed, Tack & Western Wear, First Bank at the Verandah, Rainbow Records in Cape Coral and Two Step Stop Western Wear in Naples.