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Fair opens: Sneak Peek kicks off event’s 96th year

By Staff | Feb 27, 2020

The 96th Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair kicked off on Thursday with its Sneak Peek, and the order of the day was light jackets and sweaters.

That garb is also what forecasters say you should prepare to wear over the next few days as the first few days of the fair are expected to be sunny, but a little on the chilly side, with high temperatures in the 60s and lows in the 40s on Friday and Saturday.

Forecasts a few days ago signaled it could have been even chillier. But a little cold weather is not expected to negatively impact attendance too much.

Weather forecasts say things are expected to warm up by Sunday, reaching the low 80s by midweek before cooling down again by next weekend, with little or no rain expected.

For the sneak peek, people got admission and rides for $20.

The fair, now in its 42nd year at the Lee Civic Center, goes through Sunday, March 8.

The fair once again will feature the kids from 4-H showing off their livestock for the judges, thrilling rides, fun shows and incredibly delicious (though not too healthy) food for everyone to enjoy.

Friday will feature free gate admission from 4 to 6 p.m. with free rides from 5 to 6 p.m.

That will be followed by Moonlight Madness from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., where a $25 wristband will get you entrance and on all the rides. There will be a second one the following Friday.

Saturdays and Sundays will feature $40 wristbands after regular admission costs with things starting at 11 a.m. It will be during the week where the real specials happen.

Monday is Harry Chapin & Old-Fashioned Dollar Day, featuring free admission with the donation of three canned goods and $1 rides with the purchase of 10.

Next is $15 Tuesday, with that being the cost of a wristband after admission. Wednesday is Senior and Military Day, with $5 admission from 2 to 5 p.m. After 5 p.m. are $20 wristbands. Thursday offers pay-one-price for $25, including gate admission and rides. There will also be a Last Blast Special on the final day of the fair, which is usually kept a secret until the day before.

Throughout the fair there will be lots of free shows, including Billy Lindsey, Lady Houdini, The Moogician, Pauly & The Goodfellas, Those Funny Little People, Eudora Farms Petting Zoo, Matt’s Family Jam, Ron Diamond Hypnosismagic, Danny Grant’s Cowboy Circus, Fritzy Brothers One-Man Circus and much more.

There will be livestock shows daily, with awards given for the best pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits and more, leading up to the Market Animal Auction on Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m.

Inside the civic center will include The Crafting Corner, The Community Stage, where school choruses, bands and dance teams will perform, a 4-H Talent Show, a fifth grade math bee, school and 4-H Club booth exhibits and the Miss Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair Beauty Contest.

Adult admission is $10 and children 6 to 11 is $5. Tickets are $8 adult and $4 children if purchased in advance. Parking is free. Gates open Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays at 4 p.m. and Wednesday at 2 p.m.

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

For more information, go to swflcfair.com.