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There is still a weekend of fun at the fair

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 11:08 am

By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

There is still plenty of time to go to the fair or make a repeat visit to the fairgrounds.

The fair doesn’t wrap up until Sunday night, so there are four more days to enjoy the midway, all that fair food, the animal exhibits, Market Place and more.

If this is your first visit to the fair this year, for the first time metal detectors have been added at the entrance as a safety precaution.

“We are just keeping everyone safe,” Osceola County Sheriff Russell Gibson said of the added security.

Fair officials said the security checkpoint should not add much of a delay, if any, in getting into the fair, because of a new, more efficient ticketing system.

Once inside, in addition to the midway, and other fun stuff at the fair that makes people return year after year, one new attraction, that is definitely head-and-shoulders above the rest, is a baby giraffe.

Over at the midway itself, there are some new rides, revamped rides and an expanded area for the youngest members of the family. The expanded kiddy land area now includes a “high flying” elephant ride.

The popular Starship ride has undergone a complete transformation since it was at the fair last, and now has a Star Wars kind of theme, and is now called The Force.

Another crowd favorite, the Himalaya ride also is back, said George Weston, of the James E. Strates Shows.

The Osceola County Fair has become a favorite stop for the midway show provider, Weston said.

“This fair is so enjoyable. It has come a long way,” since the Strates shows teamed up with the fair in 2003, he said.

If you enjoyed the Marketplace last year, it should be even better in 2017. Now located in a centrally located tent, for better traffic flow, the Marketplace features arts and crafts, vendors and more.

Another popular show from last year that is returning is the Old Tyme Photos. Located at the Old Town shopping attraction year-round, Old Tyme Photos is the place to go to create some memories of the fair, by donning period costumes and getting your photo taken.

Fair highlights this week include Student Night tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow is Rodeo Day, all students get free admission beginning at noon. Friday is the Open Hog Show & Showmanship event, one of the more popular livestock events at the fair.

Other upcoming weekend highlights include the LEGO Block Party team competition on Saturday. Only the first 30 teams will be accepted, on a first-come, first-served basis. Team building begins at 1 p.m. to create a LEGO masterpiece. Also Saturday is the Miss Osceola Scholarship Pageant.

And don’t forget all that fair food. It is always an attraction onto itself at each edition of the county fair.

Some of the treats to look out for include the Greek specialties at the Greek Corner. The menu includes gyro sandwiches, souviaki, Greek salad, gyro platter and more. Dinner plates are $12, pita sandwiches, $8.

You can get gator on a stick at Crackerbillies. Gator is $10. Chicken on a stick also is available for the less adventurous at $6.

Returning once again is Jimmy Bear’s BBQ, the popular St. Cloud restaurant, with its county fair concession. It is serving up some of the same barbecue favorites available at the St. Cloud location.

And be sure to be on the look out for the Cajun specialties including gumbo, alligator sausage, bacon-wrapped shrimp, shrimp po boys and more. You can get an alligator po boy sandwich for $11 or a whole seafood platter for $20.

The Red Chili Pepper Café has all of the Mexican favorites available too, including burritos, tacos, nachos, tostadas and quesadillas.

All the rest of the fair favorites are here as well including turkey legs, sausage, corn dogs, pizza and more.

The Silver Spurs Rodeo returns to Osceola Heritage Park, adjacent to the fair, this weekend as well.

There is more information on the fair at the website,

Daily gate admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children (5-11) and seniors (60 and older). For ride specials and other special events, check the website.

There are more fun things to do this weekend at that “other” fair, the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

The fair just opened the Midway Sky Eye, the largest traveling Ferris Wheel in the nation. It is 155-feet tall and features a 15-mile view from the top