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Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair attracts good crowd

March 1, 2010
By ANDREA GALABINSKI, nfmneighbor@breezenewspapers.com

The 86th annual Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair is a smash hit this year, with many stating they "needed a family fun day."

It continues through Sunday, March 7.

Go early if you plan to attend. Cars were lined down the street to get in the parking lot over the weekend.

But many said it was worth it. Not only is the fair featuring local entertainment, but there are some new shows not to be missed.

Trainer Dave Richardson was with Gentle Ben, a western diamondback rattlesnake; both delighted the crowds. A new attraction this year, it is called the West Texas Rattlesnake Show.

Richardson has been handling snakes for the last 18 years, and said Ben is a Texas native.

"Ben is from Abeline, Texas," Richard-son said. "He does need a break from all the crowds."

There was a lot of activity.

"Tropical Tom" rode a golf cart through the crowd, playing music.

Camel rides were also incredibly popular, along with a new petting zoo provided by Mark Nisbet of Eudora Farms. He is a gentle and caring animal owner. He provided camel rides, and made sure his animals got much-needed breaks.

"It's been non-stop," he said of the success of the fair. "Just so you know - the camels loved it. They do get an animal cracker every time they give a ride."

Camel Bubba loved taking kids around, despite the fear on the part of some of climbing a huge platform to get in the saddle. Nine-year-old Mary Ann Connolly had a few reservations climbing the heights, but after meeting Bubba, it was love at first sight.

Another new attraction this year was "Wild About Monkeys" - more than popular.

Cape Coral resident Rhonda Foate with sons Austin, 11, and Erik, 8, enjoyed the fair.

"They like the rides and I like the animals," said Rhonda.

Her children, along with many others, delighted in winning prizes from the many game booths.

It wasn't just local residents enjoying the fair.

Lily and Sabrina Swartout, visiting from New Hampshire, both won at booths and enjoyed the day, a great memory from their visit to Southwest Florida.

The Fair runs until Sunday, March 7, at the Lee Civic Center. Weekdays, it opens at 5 p.m., and at noon Saturday and Sunday.

The fair draws exhibitors from five counties from 4-H and Future Farmers of America and other participants, and last year, more than 90,000 turned out for the fun.

Besides animals and craft displays, entertainment is local. It includes the Ronnie Morgan Band, Chris MacArthur, David Miller, A Matter of Fate and Bill Gouley and the Golden Road Quartet.

There's also a "Moonlight Madness" night Friday, March 5. Moonlight Madness goes from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with unlimited rides for $20.

Regular admission is $7 adults, $4 children, 5 and under free. Parking is free.

The The Lee Civic Center is located at 11831 Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers. For information, call 543-8368 or go to leecicviccenter.com.

 
 
 

 

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