INsite Magazine

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alachua County Fair is back. Bring on the funnel cake.

In its 40th year, the Alachua County Fair is better than ever . With new rides and a sharp increase in vendors (from 10 last year to 40 this year), the fair is offering new opportunities for some old-fashioned fun. An ode to old relics, The Alachua County Fair is lined with carnival food stands offering up elephant ears, kettle corn, candy apples and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Still standing are our favorite childhood rides—the Egyptian boat, the tilt-a-whirl and bumper cars. This year saw an increase in kiddie rides as the staff seeks to make the fair more family friendly.

"We want to have something for everyone," says Jesse Lewis, the president and general manager of the fair. "From the smallest kid to the oldest person." This year, the fair might also be the safest yet. The fair ride inspector rated the rides as being among the safest rides he has inspected. To ensure shenanigans are kept at bay, the fair has security patrolling the grounds at all times.

"Our goal is to stop problems before they even happen," Jesse says. "It really is a family event. We want everyone to feel completely safe here."

The Alachua County fair is completely sustained by the 75 to 100 volunteers who staff it, and many of the vendors are local. But it's up to the community to ensure this Gainesville landmark keeps running strong—all you have to do is show up.

"We work on this thing 13 months out of the year," Jesse says. "Our goal is always, come opening day, when everything is all set up and done, to open the gates at 5pm and get people coming in."

Throughout the rest of the week, expect some fun extras, such as adult karaoke tonight (Wed.), the Little Miss and Little Mister Alachua County pageant, nightly entertainment on stage and the ever-popular Midnight Magic Friday, in which fair hours are extended until 3am. On Saturday, the first Oktoberfest will be held at the fair. The festival, a tradition in Germany since 1810, will bring beer, food and Bavarian festivities to the fairgrounds.

Only a $3 (for kids) or $6 (for adults), entrance fee gets you into the park. From there it's just $15 for an armband that gives you access to unlimited enjoyment of the rides. The fair is located at the Alachua County Fairgrounds, 2900 NE 39th Ave. For a full schedule of events visit

—Stephanie Granada
Photos by Rodney Rogers

Check out a photo slideshow of fairs from past years on our Web site!

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home