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Carnival & Fair News
Carnival & Fair News
Central Florida Fair Continues To Draw Crowds
Offers Visitors A Fantastic Blend of New and Old
Friday, April 20, 2018
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The 2018 Central Florida Fair took place from March 1st through March 18th at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. The fair, which has been around for more than 100 years, brings in more than 200,000 people annually. One of its goals is to preserve and enhance the agricultural, educational and historical legacy of Central Florida and all of its counties. Before Walt Disney World was placed on the map, Central Florida Fair was said to be so important to the city of Orlando that schools would close on opening day so kids could attend and enjoy the fair all day long. The Central Florida Fair is the largest not-for-profit fair in the area. For 2018, fair organizers tried to promote an atmosphere of old-school fair charm intermingled with the more modern forms of entertainment offered.

Admission Cost Up For 2018

Admission was $12 for adults and $7 for children. The rate was up slightly from last year's $10 and $6 entry fees. Children under the age of 5 were admitted free. Senior citizen admittance was $10 and unlimited ride wristbands were provided at a cost of $25 and up. Despite the admission cost increase, attendance by fair goers was also up by 10 percent, according to Central Florida Fair President and CEO, Shawn Krauel.

Special Nights

The fair featured special nights for 2018. Sunbelt Rentals presented Dollar Day on opening night and rides were available for $1. There was a general admission deal where visitors who brought a can of food to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank were able to purchase general admission tickets at the low cost of $1. Additionally, the fair offered evenings where students and teachers could enjoy free fair admission; there were also select dates where rides were available at a discounted price.


Headlining entertainment included merengue artist Bonny Cepeda; alternative rocker Aaron Lewis; and the Orlando Caribbean Festival, which featured Wyclef Jean as one of several participating artists.
“We had some great concerts at the Orlando Amphitheater,” Krauel says.

Other popular fair attractions were the pig races; the riveting Daredevil High Dive Show, which featured comedic acrobatic dives; and the equally entertaining Risen BMX show, a Christian-based organization featuring talented riders performing exciting tricks that encouraged crowd participation.

Krauel says one of the main goals this year was to bring some of the “old carnival” elements back into the fair. A perfect example of how this task was accomplished was through The World of Wonders 10-in-1 show. Visitors attending the show could watch unique performances by sword swallowers, fire eaters, knife throwers, hula hoopers, magic illusionists, snake charmers, human blockheads, contortionists and more, all in one convenient location.
Another element that brought back that old-time fair feel was The Wall of Death attraction.

“The Wall of Death motorcycle show was a great show and is highly recommended,” says Krauel.

Fair goers were invited to watch a vintage-style, live-action event that featured a motor drome – a cylinder measuring 30 feet in diameter – where daredevil motorcyclists riding Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles and hand-built four-wheel racing machines performed fancy tricks and precarious acrobatic feats along a vertical wall. Organized by the American Motor Drome Company – an organization which travels the United States – the performers aim to put on the show exactly as it would have been shown to audience members a century ago.

Midway Rides

When it comes to midway entertainment, Central Florida Fair offers 50 midway rides that are provided by Wade Shows.  Wade Shows owner Frank Zaitshik has good things to say about this year's fair.

“It is a pleasure to work with Krauel and his team,” he says. “They are engaged and passionate. It is a really positive fair due to all the hard work from Shawn, his team and the Orlando Police Department. There have been gains made this year that we are going to build on together.”

Total revenue from midway rides came in at just under $1 million.


Corn is always one of the main go-to Central Florida Fair foods. Bacon-themed food items are also a popular treat. This year, some of the more unique fare visitors could sample were the bacon cheeseburgers, bacon wrapped chicken on a stick and deep fried cheesecake. There was also the annual chili cook-off, where fair attendees could sample and vote for their favorite chili recipes. Contest participants had two hours to prepare their culinary concoctions. The community showcase also offered a sugar cookie demo.

Livestock and Agriculture

In the livestock and agricultural realm of the fair, poultry, steer, swine, lamb, sheep, rabbit and cavy shows were featured. There were open, youth and pee-wee events as well as the usual auctions.

A couple of additional highlights were The Central Florida Fair Cattlemen's Invitational Ranch Rodeo and the Central Florida Fair Youth Ranch Rodeo, which took place every Saturday.


Central Florida Fair's annual advertising budget is $150,000. The budget is divided with approximately 60 percent of the funds going toward Internet advertising, 30 percent toward radio and TV and 10 percent going toward billboard advertisements.
Krauel says that for 2018, the fair's advertising angle was focused on value and reach.

“Orlando is a tough market for the entertainment dollar,” he says. “We focused on value and promotions, Groupon deals and special days.”

What Lies Ahead For Central Florida Fair

When it comes to goals for the future, Krauel adds that the fair association aims to continue to grow its year-round business to ensure that Central Florida Fair has what it needs to keep supporting and maintaining youth education and the livestock, agricultural and creative arts programs it provides.

It is worth mentioning that, through an endowment, the fair gives thousands of dollars in scholarships through these livestock and creative arts programs, which include the Future Farmers of America and 4-H.

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