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Lee County Fair returns next weekend

By Staff | Feb 21, 2019

The Lee County Fair has been making memories for residents for almost a century, whether it’s been at Terry Park or the Lee Civic Center.

The latest – at year 95 – kicks off Thursday, Feb. 28, with its preview and goes through March 10.

There will be many of the same activities as in the past, with the livestock shows, funnel cakes, and dozens of rides and attractions being among the many things in which attendees can take part.

Fran Crone, organizer of the fair, said she hopes that with good weather they can bring the numbers back up to where they were in 2016 and 2017. Last year, slightly more than 100,000 attended the fair.

She said they have gotten a jump on preparation

“A whole slew of rides are already up. The way we fall this year it’s later than usual. The rides came in last week an we started setting up,” Crone said. “It depends on where the calendar falls.”

There will also be numerous attractions, including Billy Lindsey with his tribute to Elvis, Ron Diamond the hypnotist and magician, the Sea Lion Splash, Lady Houdini, Matt’s Family Jam and Renata, the Fritzy Brothers One Man Circus and much more.

“Lady Houdini does the water cell escape like Houdini did and has done about 2,300 escapes, which is more than what Houdini did,” Crone said. “The strolling shows will also be able to perform on stage at Whaley Hall, which served as the beer tent in the past.”

Inside the civic center, there will also be loads of entertainment from area talent, featuring the fair’s beauty contest on Saturday and talent competition on Sunday. School dance clubs and choruses will also take the stage throughout the week.

The school and 4-H booth competitions will also be in the civic center. More than 55 schools will participate. Creative Living, with all the art exhibits from local talent, as well as local vendors will also be there. Children will also get a chance to play games and get off their feet for a while.

The heartbeat of any fair is its livestock shows, put on by the area 4-H clubs. The first weekend will feature the always important swine show on Sunday, with showmanship shows for steer, rabbits, chickens and other animals in the livestock show ring, as well as horsemanship shows in the horse arena.

“We’re an agricultural fair, so the animals are truly the fair. There are livestock shows throughout the week and all sorts of things,” Crone said.

The fair kicks off next Thursday with its Sneak Peak starting at 4 p.m., with $15 admission and rides. Things get in full swing next Friday, with free gate admission from 4 to 6 p.m. and free rides from 5 to 6 p.m. The first of two Friday Moonlight Madness promotions goes from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., with $25 wristbands for admission and rides.

Activities on Saturdays and Sundays start at 11 a.m., with Last Blast specials the final day of the fair.

During the week, there will be special promotions. Monday is Harry Chapin Food Bank Night, with free admission with three cans of food. There will also be 12 Buck Tuesday, where, after paid admission, ride wristbands will be $12.

Wednesday is Senior/ Military Day with a special 2 p.m. opening and $5 admission until 5 p.m. Pauly & the Goodfellas will perform. Thursday is Old-Fashioned Dollar Day, where rides are $1 with a minimum $10 of ride purchases.

With the exception of Wednesday and the weekend, opening time is 4 p.m.

Attendees also can purchase a Mega Pass for $25 from now until Wednesday, Feb. 27. The Mega Pass includes one gate admission and a wristband for all the rides. You can also purchase advance general admission tickets for $8 for adults, $4 for children. Visit swflcfair.com/tickets.

Crone said she expects this year’s event to be the best ever.

“We are excited and looking forward to it and having another great year. Our parking and entertainment are free and we’re looking forward to the community coming out to support the kids and the livestock,” Crone said.

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