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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Cover / Winter Issue

Dive into the fun at the South Florida Fair

It's that time of the year to enjoy thrilling rides, live performances, agricultural displays, and food vendors. The South Florida Fair theme this year is "Dive Into The Fun," featuring various attractions, entertainment, exhibits, and food.

The excitement is palpable as the South Florida Fair kicks off its 112th annual celebration, inviting visitors to “Dive Into The Fun.” The event featuring various attractions, entertainment, exhibits, and food launched a Ride-A-Thon on Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.,  and the full fair is now running through January 28. This year, the Fair promises an unforgettable experience for all.

Aiming to showcase the diverse culture, agriculture, and industries of South Florida, visitors can enjoy thrilling rides, live performances, agricultural displays, and food vendors.

Here’s the 2024 South Florida Fair at a glance.

Opening Day Extravaganza:
The fair will host a grand Opening Day Ceremony on January 12 to kick off the festivities. Guests arriving early can witness the ceremony beginning at 11:30 a.m., with gates opening at 11 a.m. As a special treat, all opening ceremony attendees will enjoy complimentary admission. It’s an excellent opportunity to be among the first to “Dive Into The Fun.”

Hours of Operation:
Throughout the Fair’s run, Monday to Friday offers extended hours from Noon to 10 p.m. On Martin Luther King Day (January 15) and every Saturday and Sunday, the fair opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m., except for the concluding Sunday, January 28, when it winds down at 8 p.m.

Immersive Underwater Experience:
This year, the Fair takes visitors on a journey beneath the waves with a water-themed extravaganza. Interactive exhibits and activities promise to captivate audiences, including a cutting-edge underwater 3D projection experience in collaboration with the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission and The Palm Beaches TV. A sea lion splash show, live shark encounters, and a dueling pirate’s high dive comedy show add to the aquatic excitement.

Food continues to be a big draw for fairgoers:
People flock to the South Florida Fair every year to indulge in their favorite fair foods. They are lured by the unique and delectable creations exclusively available at the Fair.

Consider Shockley’s Food Service, which offers a unique dish called the Honey Bunny Curd Burger, which consists of a flame-grilled, fresh beef patty that’s never been frozen, served between two honey buns and smothered in a layer of cheese curds. Additionally, Shockley’s Pop Rocks Pickle is a popular treat that features a kosher pickle wrapped in a fruit roll-up and dipped in chocolate. It’s then coated with either Pop Rocks, Fruity PEBBLES™, or Flaming Hot Cheetos® for a sweet and sour taste explosion.

Rosie’s Nachos debuted at the South Florida Fair last year and is returning with a chicken, steak, and shrimp gourmet nacho menu. At the 2023 fair, the Cooking Channel’s “Carnival Eats” film crew focused on one of Rosie’s Nachos’ menu items — Rosie’s sweet potato ribbon pie, which includes ribbon-spiraled deep fried sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow fluff, pecan pieces, cinnamon sugar and toasted marshmallows. The TV segment continues to air.

Rosie’s Nachos will also feature a new food at the 2024 fair — banana cream pie nachos with cinnamon sugar tossed tortilla chips topped with banana pudding, whipped cream, graham cracker crust, and fresh banana pieces.

Another food vendor featured on “Carnival Eats” was Fluffy’s, which specializes in hand-cut donuts. Fluffy’s will offer a dill donut sundae, as featured on “Carnival Eats.” LR Foods will prepare the tie-dye funnel cake and pizza funnel cake that was also on the TV program.

New 2024 South Florida Fair food vendors include Big T’s Concessions featuring gourmet style grilled cheese with assorted toppings such as ham and cheese, jalapeños, maple bacon, PB&J, and dill pickles. The Crumb Up, a local vendor, will offer gourmet cookies and a cookie sundae. Sparky’s Pork Rinds will feature barbecue, Old Bay, dill pickle, ranch, and flavored pork rinds. Dizon’s Chinese Food will offer egg rolls, crab Rangoon, fried rice, and shish kababs.

Entertainment for All:
From daily “Ice in Paradise” ice skating shows to comedy hypnotist performances, there’s something for everyone at the South Florida Fair. Five stages host a diverse array of music and entertainment acts, while farm animal displays and Yesteryear Village activities provide a nostalgic touch.

Headliners include the “Meet Loaf” Tribute Show, Derek Mack Band, Nuthin Fancy–A Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band, Burnt Biscuit, Made in America, a Toby Keith Tribute Band, and The Linkin Park Tribute Band, among many others. The South Florida Fair Marching Band, run by Aron Friedman, will participate in the fair’s daily parades. A music teacher at Palm Springs Middle School, Friedman still plays the horn in the band, making him the rare band director who plays in the ranks of his own marching band.

Admission and Tickets:
Advance tickets, available online at www.southfloridafair.com and select Palm Beach County Publix locations until midnight on January 11, offer a discounted rate of $10 for those 11 years and older. Children aged ten and younger enjoy free admission. On opening day, attendees with advance tickets receive a complimentary return ticket courtesy of Publix.
At the gate, admission is $15 from Monday to Friday, except for $2 on Tuesdays and $20 on Saturdays and Sundays. After 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult guardian.

Rides and Gold Access Pass:
The Midway opens at 1 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on weekends and MLK Day. Ride enthusiasts can purchase wristbands for $30 (Monday-Friday) or $45 (Saturday and Sunday) at the gate. For an enhanced experience, the Gold Access pass, available for $12 (Monday-Thursday) and $20 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and MLK Day), allows guests to skip the lines and enjoy priority access to rides.

Bag Policy and Parking:
To ensure a smooth entry, the Fair has implemented a bag policy, allowing clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC bags (max size: 12″x6″x12″) and small clutch bags (max size: 6″x9″).
Parking is available at $10 for general parking and $20 for premium parking at the fairgrounds, accepting both cash and cards.

The South Florida Fair takes place at 9067 Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach. Ready to make a splash and “Dive Into The Fun?”

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