By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Once again, the St. Lucie County Fair has planned 10 days of fun for the whole family from clowns to crooners and everything in between.
"We try to bring in something new every year, but keep the old favorites," said Jeanne Keaton, the general manager of the fairgrounds.
Last year, the St. Lucie County Fair saw 119,000 people pass through its gates to enjoy the rides, exhibits and special concerts. This year is no different.
Two concerts are featured this year, and both offer free seating.
"It's our gift to the St. Lucie County residents," said Ms. Keaton.
The first concert featuring the group The Guess Who, will perform the first night of the fair on Feb. 22.
But if one doesn't care for live music, there are also rides, school exhibits, racing pigs, a clown circus, a rowdy rooster stage show, a master hypnotist and a 12-string guitarist to enjoy. And that's just the first night.
Parking is $3 per vehicle, and admission is $3 for children aged 6 to 12; $10 for adults age 13 to 49; and $5 for seniors age 50 and older. Special prices on admissions and rides vary from day to day to make the fair affordable for every budget.
The fair is all about the animals too, with exhibit barns featuring steer, pigs and small animals. Students spend all year raising the animals to bring them to the fair. There will be daily livestock competitions, shows, demonstrations and auctions by the St. Lucie County youth.
One of the highlights of this year's fair is Kellie Pickler in concert on Feb. 23. She became famous on the fifth season of the reality show American Idol, and has made a name for herself as a country singer.
Now in its 48th year, the fair is honoring Florida's heritage with the theme "500 Years of Florida."
"There will be a variety of exhibits showing the different aspects of our Florida heritage," Ms. Keaton said. "We were happy to coordinate that."
Also on hand will be displays by residents, who compete in events such as crafty men, art and photography. Displays will showcase quilting, wood burning, scroll-saw workmanship and bowl turning.
But no county fair can be complete without the rides, and this year there will more than 40 rides spread across 15 acres. The rides will also feature special pricing to make the fun affordable for everyone.
The fair will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays, from noon to 1:30 a.m. Saturdays and from noon until midnight Sundays.
For more information, go to www.stluciecountyfair.org.