CLEWISTON — The Hendry County Fair & Livestock Show started its six-day run Tuesday with a few extra twists for attendees — added agricultural and floral exhibits, more food vendors, a giant Ferris wheel, a new children’s entertainer and all the familiar carnival attractions.
“There’s going to be a lot of new stuff there this year. We’re going to have the big — I think it’s 40- or 50-foot — Ferris wheel this year, that they’re actually putting together right now, so that’s going to be a new attraction, too. That’s something we haven’t had there in probably 20 years,” Timmy Lee, vice president of the fair organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, said on Thursday.
He said fair officials were looking forward to throwing the gates open and, especially, preparing their own getups for this Thursday night’s 1950s-style celebration with free admission. Board members agreed in their meeting Feb. 7, he said, to dress up in classic outfits of that time period and come together to welcome their guests from the community and all over South Florida with that certain classic Clewiston sweetness on Valentine’s Day evening.
Among new attractions:
• “We’ve got a guy named Farmer Ed coming in. He’s a children’s entertainer. He does magic and works with the kids on agriculture and stuff like that. He’s going to be doing strolling magical acts during the fair,” Mr. Lee said. Farmer Ed calls his agricultural magic show “Ready-Set-Grow.”
• This year they encouraged local agriculture-oriented businesses and groups to set up booths, contests, demonstrations and exhibits near the main entrance for the new Florida Agriculture Section. Entries were being sought for an orchid contest, and Fair President Yvonne Swindle had several already, said her granddaughter, Johanna Jones, a director on the fair’s board.
• “We have another guy coming in, and his show is called the Stunt Jump,” Mr. Lee said. “The kids can go up this sort-of ladder (a mobile tower on a lift), then they jump on this airbag from 12 feet or 20 feet.” It should be a big draw for the backyard trampoline set to show off moves they’ve perfected — and safe, too, because they use patented Zero Shock jump bags.
• Homemade entries have been collecting for about 10 days before the fair’s opening for the Home Exhibit Booth, which will feature local residents’ canning, quilting, painting, sewing, pottery, woodworking and other artisanal creations.
The fair’s overall slogan is “We’ve Got A Good Thing Growing.”There will be all the usual attractions beyond those new ones: the livestock show and sale, a cake auction, petting zoo, pageants, a parade, frog racing and more. The 2019 theme overall and for booth decorations is “Rockin’ ’50s.”
The 2019 sponsors are: U.S. Sugar Corp.; Hilliard Brothers of Florida; County Commissioner Karson Turner; Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort; McGahee & Perez, P.I., Attorneys at Law; Wedgworth’s Inc.; Redish Insurance Group Inc.; Rocking K Farms; Hendry County Cattlemen’s Association; Moss Towing of South Bay; and Performance NAPA, with locations in Belle Glade, Clewiston, Indiantown and Moore Haven in the lake region.
The fair is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that invests its revenue back into the local community, also guaranteeing a $2,000 scholarship for Miss Hendry County every year. Local businesses and civic groups contribute toward the award as well.
The Hendry County fair provides a venue for many events throughout the year. It’s been a site for birthday parties, showers, weddings and other special events. Contact 863-983-9282 for rates. The Livestock Show Arena, home to the “Raising Cane Rodeo,” has events for youth development and adult recreation. Enjoy sanctioned barrel events and weekly roping throughout the year. They are located at 610 E. El Paso in Clewiston.
The final day of the fair is Sunday, Feb. 17. Please contact Johanna Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Caloosa Belle reporter/editor Chris Felker can be reached at email@example.com.