The 2013 Collier County Fair in Florida, March 14 - 24, was very successful with revenue up from last year and only two rainy days. General admission remained the same price as last year, with prices $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids ages 6-11.
This year's fair included delicious food from over 90 local vendors: candy apples, cotton candy, fresh cut fried potatoes, corn dogs, deep fried Oreos as well as the funnel cakes and elephant ears. Leather goods, family photos, canned goods, quilts, clothing, jewelry, and other wares were for ale. The Family Living Tent housed local entries for competition such as resident-made quilts, preserves, cakes, pies, and arts and crafts. This year's fair saw the expansion of the horticulture area, with a larger garden vegetables area and another dedicated to local foliage.
Entertainment included the Comedy Hypnosis team, Billy Ray the Trailer Trash Magician, Grizzly Encounter, Bengal Tiger Encounter, Racing Pigs, Disconnected K9's, Ma'Ceo and many more returning acts. The youth livestock auction was very popular, particularly with the 4-H kids, according to Fair Manager Rhonda Ward, noting that the steer and hog buyers are an important part of keeping the event going. The Collier County Fair awards an Amanda Hamlett Scholarship of $1000 towards the college education of a 4-H'er that has been an active member for at least two years and is awarded additionally based on entry of an application and essay.
Reithoffer Shows, founded in 1896, provided jaw-dropping rides. Reithoffer Shows specializes in providing one of a kind rides such as the German built Tornado, the only ride of it's kind in the United States. They also offered such classics as the Giant Dutch Wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl, Carousel, Orient Express, Fire Chief, Dizzy Dragons and many more.
On March 16, the fair hosted a Demolition Derby Team Racing event with pre-registration for drivers at $40.00 per car/driver and day of registration at $50.00 per car/driver. Racing Team Heat winners receive $300.00, Grand Finale Racing Team winners receive $1,000, Endo Racers receive $400 for a win and $100.00 for each "heat." Only adults and teenagers sixteen and up were permitted to be in the pit area. Admission to the derby was included with fair admission.
The fair offers an annual community health day to benefit people who are faced with difficult life circumstances, giving portions to cancer funding and community organizations through silent auctions, donations, and sponsorships. The community health day also offered a bloodmobile and check-up stations. Held on March 21, the health day benefited many. The drive was extra special this year because it honored past Board Member Cheryl Lynn Gross, who passed in February 2012 after a hard fought battle with melanoma. Mrs. Gross dedicated herself to the Collier County Fair and was an active member of the board for over a decade. It is such dedication and community that makes the Collier County Fair so successful.
"My favorite part of the fair is the family atmosphere and seeing everyone really getting along, having a good time," said Rhonda Ward. The 2014 Collier County Fair will take place March 13-23.