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92nd Lee County Fair attracts large crowds

By Staff | Mar 9, 2016

After a really wet winter, the 92nd Lee County Fair couldn’t have asked for nicer weather, and, as the event wrapped up its 11-day booking at the Lee Civic Center, organizers said it was a great success, with potential record crowds.

When the last of the revelers left around 10 p.m. Sunday, a huge crowd of fair workers and volunteers had the task of tearing everything down. By Monday morning, most of the rides and food vending areas were packed up and the parking lot was nearly empty.

Frank Sherkus, fair chairman, said the true test of a great fair is how people enjoy it, not by the attendance figures. In that respect, it succeeded.

“We had a really great fair. We had a lot of great compliments. The weather couldn’t have complied any better. We’re very satisfied, we had good attendance and a lot of good people came,” Sherkus said.

Official attendance figures were not available by press time.

To get the fair off the ground, hundreds of tons of stone had to be laid down to give fairgoers a dry surface as the rain saturated the grounds and made for unfavorable conditions.

There wasn’t a drop of rain during the fair. The first Saturday drew record crowds, while Senior Day on Wednesday also set a record, with hopes of growing it further, Sherkus said. In fact, most every night had an increase in attendance.

The final night saw another big crowd, with families bringing their children for the kiddie rides. Bethany Burger, of Cape Coral, brought her son, Cruise, 18 months, on the bumble bee ride to give him his first true fair experience.

“It’s been great. There’s a lot to do and lots of great food. My son can go on the rides for the first time, so that’s great,” Burger said. “He likes the bumble bee and the train, those were his favorites. He also liked the petting zoo.”

Betty Woodard, who came with her friends from Bartow, said it was worth the 90-minute drive.

“We come every year. It’s a lot of fun. We enjoy the rides and we bring the kids every year. We bring the nieces, nephews and cousins,” Woodard said. “We got the family together and it’s a huge family thing.”

Robert Allen Robertson, of North Fort Myers, came to the fair on his 20th birthday with a desire to ride the mechanical bull for eight seconds and win a quick $200, but ending up $30 lighter in the pocket.

The fun he had with his family made everything worth it.

“I love the fair. It’s my second time here. I love hanging out with my friends in the booth and the beef tips,” said mom Lonnie Cavano.

As for next year, Sherkus said he is already looking at new shows and plans on using some areas in the back of the grounds that have been underutilized.

“There’s nothing to improve on, just give a variation or something new for the fairgoers. We had the Banana Derby and the Firefighter Show this year. We’ll look to add something next year,” Sherkus said.