Due to COVID-19, this year’s fair was divided in two events. First there was a scaled back mini-fair in January, when the fair usually takes place, held completely outdoors without the signature carnival rides, games of chance and daily parades that made the fair’s reputation for the last 109 years.
And now we get the second part, a bigger production which organizers promise will be closer to a pre-pandemic experience with indoor and outdoor activities when the fair is staged May 7-23 at the fairgrounds in West Palm Beach.
“The number of rides and games will be slightly less than traditionally because of the need to space them for social distancing,” said Vicki Chouris, president and CEO of the fair. “But we will feature the spectacular rides along with kiddie rides.”
One of those rides — the Midway Sky Eye, which debuted in 2018 — will make a return. Standing 155 feet tall with 524,000 LED lights, the ride is billed as North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel.
“It was evident in January that the fair is a popular family event,” Chouris says. “We saw lots of families. And even though there were no adult rides at the mini-fair, plenty of adults without children also still attended.”
As promised with the fair in January, if you bought tickets for that mini-fair, you will get one free admission on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at the May fair. You should have already received information on how to redeem via email.
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Wearing a mask is required and hand sanitizers will be located throughout the grounds. The fair will be using a contactless ticketing system on the gates and on the midway.
What else will be going on?
In addition to the carnival rides, games and live music, the popular ice skating (last seen in 2018) will return.
“Fairgoers love our ice skating shows, so we know they are happy to see its return,” says Chouris. “Seating will be social distanced and the performances will be more frequent.”
And while the livestock and agriculture competitions took place in January, she explains that there will be some traditional state fair programs such as the Florida Junior Brahman Association Show and the Florida Junior Angus Show, complete with a pageant, costume contest and a dairy show.
Also, the Sundy Feed Store Fresh Market, another regular feature of the expo, is back. This time instead of produce mostly from the Western Farm Bureau, there will be more of a curated green market with several new vendors selling things like artisan-crafted foods, farm-to-bottle olive oils, gemstones/crystals and handmade African dresses.
“Additionally, United Farmers Alliance is working with different farmers to offer such items as microgreens, star fruit, mangoes and various meats,” Chouris adds.
- The fairgrounds are at 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach.
- Tickets are $10 for general admission Mondays-Fridays and and $20 on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free for children 10 and younger. There are also some ride vouchers and Power Pass ticket options ranging from $20-$40.
- To order, call 561-793-0333 or go to SouthFloridaFair.com.
- General parking is free. There is preferred parking for $10 Mondays-Fridays and $20 Saturdays and Sundays.