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Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair opens Thursday

By Staff | Feb 15, 2018

For the 94th time this year, the Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair will provide memories to last a lifetime.

Starting Thursday and going all the way to March 4, the fair will be at the Lee Civic Center, featuring rides, entertainment, food and livestock shows guaranteed to make children of all ages smile.

Last year’s fair set a record for attendance, as more than 109,000 came through the turnstiles. While it’s hard to predict what the weather will be, Fran Crone, the fair’s manager, said she hopes the numbers will remain steady.

“You can’t predict a great year every year. We just hope we keep growing and have another banner year,” Crone said.

The mainstay at the fair is always the livestock shows put on by the area 4-H clubs, with more than 350 youth exhibitors looking for top honors in swine, beef, chicken, goats and rabbits, as well as 23 booths inside the civic center, where most of the county schools will also participate and where the creative living section will also be held.

The 4-H clubs have also created 11 entries into the haybale contest.

Many of those who have entertained fairgoers in the past return this year, such as the lumberjack show, sea lions, Ron Diamond with hypnosis and magic, and singer Dennis Lee.

There will also be new shows such as Billy “Elvis” Lindsey, one of the top Elvis impersonators in the country, and “The Conjurer,” a fortune telling machine, among many others.

Crone said it’s good the check the daily schedule in the brochure to see what time the entertainment comes on.

“All of the entertainment runs multiple times daily, and instead of trying to list every day, we list that day at the gate,” Crone said. “Some people really want to see a particular show.”

Also, as usual, the fair will begin with the sneak-peek on Thursday, with $15 admission and rides on Feb. 22. Friday offers free admission from 4 to 6 p.m. and free rides from 4 to 5 p.m.

Moonlight Madness will take place on both Fridays – Feb. 23 and March 2 – from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., where attendees can ride all the rides they want for $25.

Monday, Feb. 26, will be Harry Chapin Night, with free admission with the donation of three canned food items, and $12 Tuesday – Feb. 27 – gets you a ride wristband with gate admission.

Wednesday’s Senior/ Military Day on Feb. 28, will feature Pauley & and Good Fellows, which does classic songs from rock and soul, with $5 admission from 2 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, March 1, will be Dollar Day, with all rides for a buck, with a minimum of 10.

Saturday, March 3, will feature something new, Celebrate Florida Agriculture Day, with workshops featuring the area’s best gardeners, agricultural displays in the Civic Center and more.

And it’s not too late to get Mega-Passes, which are on sale for $25 in advance only until Feb. 21, and are available online and at numerous locations.

For more, go to the fair’s web site, swflcfair.com.

The Lee County Civic Center is at 11831 Bayshore Road.