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Lee County Fair wraps up this weekend

By Staff | Mar 6, 2015

Despite rain having an impact on the first weekend, organizers at the Lee County & Southwest Florida Fair are confident they can still break attendance records set last year.

The fair wraps up this weekend with a myriad of special events as well as the traditional rides and food that makes going so special.

Even though rain is expected Friday, fair organizer Fran Crone is optimistic of a packed house.

“We dodged raindrops the first several days. But we still had good numbers. Now the weather has turned and we’ve had great numbers,” Crone said.

Crone had every reason to be optimistic, judging by how well things went on Wednesday on Senior Day, as many came for the special matinee hours on a gorgeous, warm afternoon.

The day featured health screenings and entertainment from Joey Dee & The Starlighters, with long lines wrapped around the gate for the noon start.

Paul Francis, from Toronto, said it was his first ever trip to Florida and he was looking forward to going to his first fair.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m going to see what’s happening. We have the Canadian Expo, so it should be something like that,” Francis said.

There were also many younger people there. Kids who were on spring break from school were enjoying funnel cakes and riding the rides.

Steven Ferris and his girlfriend, Suzy Martin, moved to Fort Myers from Missouri, and said they were looking forward to the ride and some of the events.

“We want to see the Banana Derby. We heard that was exciting,” Martin said. “It’s a nice venue, it has nice shops inside and it’s a good day for it.”

“We have great number with Joey Dee and the barns are very popular with the older crowd,” Crone said. “We discovered that seniors were bringing their grandchildren who were on vacation without the mass crowds.”

Heading down the stretch, Friday features the second Moonlight Madness from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., as well as gospel singing inside the civic center and the small animal awards and goat auction and the horse speed show.

Saturday will have the Varsity Lakes and Villas Line dancers and a songwriters seminar, with the main event being the Livestock auction and goat agility show.

Things wrap up on Sunday with the school booth awards presentation and the horse fun and goat shows.

A Grizzly Experience, Banana Derby, Barnyard Review and Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean will have numerous shows all three days. People can also peruse the Creative Living exhibits.

Crone said she is hoping they can get 100,000 total attendance as they did last year.

“We’re trying everything we can. We’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates with us,” Crone said. “We’re going to stay positive. The vendors said they were surprised by the amount of people who came in the rain.”

Carolina Wiwchar, a vendor from Cape Coral who sells elephant ears and fried Oreos, said business has been good.

“We have issues when things get rained out, but we always make up for that,” Wiwchar said. “We do this for a living and you can’t blame the rain. It always works out in the end.”

The fair opens at 5 p.m. Friday, and noon on Saturday and Sunday.

The Lee County Civic Center is at 11831 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers