By Peter Covino
You can never stay too long at the fair — the Osceola County Fair that is.
The fair, the single most popular annual event in the county, returns to Osceola Heritage Park Friday, and continues daily through Feb. 18.
From getting up close and personal to sheep and goats, the midway rides and seeing if Aunt Pearl’s pickles took home a blue ribbon, there is something for everyone at the fair.
One of the free events included with fair admission this year include Thomas the Tank Engine.
Thomas & Friends will be making a special guest appearance at the fair on Sunday.
Thomas the Tank Engine has been entertaining children for more than 70 years, and he and his friends will be making a stop at the fair for three shows and even some meet and greets at the Osceola County Fair Events Center.
Thomas & Friends invites children to enter a world of imagination and stories, teaching life lessons through discovery, friendship and cooperation.
At the shows at the Osceola County Fair, children will be able to join in on the fun as Thomas plans a special surprise party for his friend Sodor, using teamwork and songs.
Showtimes for Thomas the Tank Engine are at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Following the show, Thomas the Tank Engine will be available for photos with children and their families. The show is included with admission to the fair.
For more things and fun stuff with Thomas, visit www.Thomasand
What else is new
While some fair favorites from the past will return to this year’s county fair, there are some new events as well including Conjurer. Conjurer is the classic automated machine at this year’s fair, but with a twist. It’s not a machine.
Also returning is the Kandu Magic Show. It’s actually two shows on one stage. This is the farewell run for the popular interactive show.
Kari & Billy featuring live karaoke also is returning. The show features a professional band of Nashville musicians.
Another returning favorite is Rosaire’s Royal Racers. The racing pigs are featured in shows every 20 to 30 minutes.
Another fair alumni, is the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo where you can feed and see exotic and colorful animals.
Of course the fair midway returns with rides for youngsters and big kids too. And as usual, there are fair specials just about every day of the fair.
Some of the fair specials this year include:
Friday is Salute to Seniors Day. Seniors 60-plus receive free admission. Armbands for rides are only $25 for the day for everyone.
Saturday and Sunday is Kids Weekend. Child’s armband is $10.
Monday, Feb. 12, is Carload Night. Admission and unlimited rides are $50 for up to eight persons. Opens at 5 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 15 is Student Night. Students receive free admission to the fair.
Friday, Feb. 16 is KUA Student Day. Students receive free admission until 5 p.m. Armbands $35.
Advance purchase discounts for tickets and ride armbands also are available by buying online at http://www.osceolacountyfair.com/p/about/daily-ride-specials-and-discounts.
The 2018 Osceola County Fair is the 74th year for the popular event.
For questions and more information about the Osceola County Fair, go to www.osceolacountyfair.com.