When: Wednesday, November 5th – Sunday, November 16th
Where: 510 Fairgrounds Place
Info: www.jacksonvillefair.com, (904) 353-0535
It’s that one time during the year when you can smell that unique blend of funnel cake, livestock, and excitement in the air. The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair is back and is full of spectacular headline entertainment, activities, animals, and all of the staple rides and games which you know and love. This marks the 59th year of the event.
A Bit of History
This event has informed visitors about science, agriculture, horticulture and the arts since 1955. Its original staging ground was the stadium formerly known as the Gator Bowl. Then in 1989, it found a permanent home bordering its former one. According to The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair’s press release, it is the biggest fair/festival in northeast Florida and ranked 47th in the United States by Amusement Business. In addition to its edifying and entertaining aspects, the fair has an estimated financial impact on Duval County in excess of $10 million. It provides an additional revenue stream for the City of Jacksonville through leases and parking revenues to the tune of approximately of $195,000. There have also been charitable ramifications, since the fair has made contributions of approximately $3.1 million to charitable and civic organizations since its inception. So you can feel that much better about your ride-fueled fun and nausea, and healthful-diet-defying fried items this year!
The entertainment this year offers a wide array of local, regional, and even national acts, mainly from the country music genre. November 5th opens up with J. Collins Band at 8pm, and other highlights include American Idol winner Scotty McCreery on November 10th at 8pm, Country Music Association’s, “New Artist of the Year” Brett Eldredge on November 12th at 8pm, and Season 2 participant of The Voice, RaeLynn on November 14th at 8pm. But you don’t have to dust off your cowboy hat and boots for all the acts; former lead singer of Bad Company, Brian Howe, will be performing on November 15th at 2pm, and Jacksonville’s own R&B dance sensation, Str8up, will be getting down on November 16th at 2pm. November 8th will also showcase a bevy of local dance talent for “Dance Day,” which will be featured from 12-7pm.
It’s not all about the song and dance. The events that make the fair truly memorable will be available during every day of the fair. Robinson’s Racing Pigs will be in full effect. Is there anybody that doesn’t enjoy seeing pigs haul around the track, only to dive into a pool and get rewarded with an oreo? Count me in! You can also catch the Kenny Ahern Family Comedy Show, known for “hilarious antics,” the No Jo Clown Circus, filled with clowns that are funny and delightful, not scary, the Kachunga Alligator Show, proceed with caution, and The Fire Fighter Show. Pigs, comedy, clowns, alligators, and fire–what more could you possibly want?
Exhibits, Contests, and Sales
Just when you think song and dance, pig racing, and food have brought you to the brink of ostensibly busting your fun-quota at the seams, there are several exhibits, contests, and sales. You’ll find a slew of agricultural, art & craft, commercial, and horticultural exhibits. Just think, your kids will be learning and not minding it, because they are enjoying themselves so much! Some exhibit highlights include the “Bartram Trails Design Academy and Project Runway-Dress Designs,” “Honey-The Purest, The Finest, The Tastiest Exhibit!,” and the one that I have a personal affinity for, the “LEGO Train Exhibit.” Feeling competitive? Even if you’re not, maybe you’ll get to enjoy the hard work of those participating in the “Culinary Contest,” “Wood Turner Contest” or “Jacksonville Gem & Mineral Jewelry Contest.” And be sure to open up your hearts and wallets at the Country Store where you can adorn your breakfast table with delicious jellies, syrups, and grits.
Tickets, Logistics, and Other Whatnots
For the most comprehensive information about the daily schedule, specials, and times, visit www.thejacksonvillefair.com. Regular price admission is $8 for adults and $5 for both children and seniors. The official website also provides open and closing times and a place to download the fairground map.
Ride wristbands will be available and can be purchased at the fair, but do not include admission and are only good for mechanical rides on the day of purchase. Take advantage of the deals being offered like the opening day special: $3 admission and $15 unlimited mechanical rides, seniors get some love on both Fridays, November 7th and 14th, with free admission and then students (17 or younger) can get in free on both Saturdays, November 8th and 15th from 10am-4pm. You’ll find several other deals that include Military Day and Family Day.
It’s all here and happening. New memories are just waiting to be made, whether it’s getting sick on The Zipper, rocking out to first-rate live music, or winning big on your pig. See you at the fair!