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County Fair comes to a crowded close Sunday

By Staff | Mar 10, 2015

After a rainy first weekend, the Lee County Fair finished things off this past weekend as if it wanted to make up for lost time.

Weather was tremendous this week as people crammed into the fairgrounds in large numbers, setting records and making the goal of 100,000 spectators set by fair officials a doable reality.

As of Monday at noon, press time, total attendance figures had not been announced. However, Saturday set an all-time record of 21,000 people, with the final day also bringing in strong numbers thanks to a closing day special of unlimited rides for $25.

“This year has been another great year. We had to dodge raindrops the first weekend, but the weather cleared up and it’s been beautiful,” said fair director Fran Crone. “We’re excited and happy for another great year.”

For the vendors, the potential business lost by the weather was made up for this weekend. Robert Hyman, who sold cowboy apparel, said business was strong.

“Things have been good. It’s our second year and numbers were a little better this year,” Hyman said. “Being an outdoor vendor weather plays into it. We were rained out Saturday, so you take the good with the bad.”

All the big attractions, such as the Banana Derby and the Grizzly Experience, had their final shows while spectators found interesting things to do.

Like Duwayne Davis of Cape Coral, who was determined to ride the mechanical bull for eight seconds for a $200 prize.

After a near miss the first time, he earned his fistful of dollars the second time around.

“This is my second time here. I’m just going to have fun with the baby and take them on more rides. I went on one of those spinning rides and it threw me for a loop,” Davis said. “It’s a great thing for Lee County. It keeps the kids away from the negative stuff.”

Joanne Craig brought her four grandkids to the fair and had a blast, though they declined the fair fare.

“They went on the rides and I enjoyed seeing them have fun and having family time together,” Craig said. “We’re going to go out to eat now.”

When things finally shut down late Sunday evening, it was time for everyone to pack everything up and head for the next stop. By Monday at noon, the fairgrounds looked as though nothing had happened there.

That means another 354 days until the 92nd edition of the fair returns to the civic center, which is too long for some.

Katie Taylor, from Fort Myers, was grand champion last year and reserve grand champion this year in horse showing. As soon as this fair ends, it’s time to prepare for next year.

“I want to keep it going next year. I will miss the fair so much. I can’t wait for next year,” Taylor said. “I’m here every night until 1 a.m. some nights.”