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Faircracker SPRING 2020

South Florida Fair kicks off 2020 Fair Season with “Play Ball, Play Fair!” theme By Doreen Marcial Poreba

All fair organizers know that weather can make or break their event and at this year’s South Florida Fair in West

Palm Beach, the weather cooperated, providing sunshine for the majority of its 17-day run, January 17- February 2. Led by Vicki Chouris, the fair’s first female president and

CEO in its 108-year history, the award-winning fair offered a host of activities built around its “Play Ball. Play Fair!” 2020 theme. “Our fairgoers were given the opportunity to experience

the essence of sports, which includes competition, fair play, and the zeal to win, all in the name of fun,” said Chouris. Interactive and educational sports exhibits paved the way

as guests strolled through the Expo Center, enjoying virtual reality games, batting and pitching cages, a field goal kick, and the Hometown Teams exhibition, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and Florida Humanities. The exhibit taught visitors the cultural impact and importance of the different sports in American communities. Also in the Expo Center, the National Baseball Hall of

On Saturdays and Sundays, the mall designated one of its

parking lots to be used for the fair’s Park & Ride. The 15- minute trip ran continuously during the weekend and ad- mission tickets were sold right on the premises. As a thank you for using the service, fair guests with a paid admission ticket who used the free shuttle service received a $5 food voucher, good at any food concession at the fair. “One of the features of the Park & Ride is that riders did

not have to wait in long traffic lines or wait in line once they got to the fair,” said Chouris. “With tickets already in hand and their security clearance completed at the mall, the bus dropped them off inside the gate so their fair fun could begin immediately. In essence, we provided a conci- erge service!”

Fame and Museum’s “Picturing America’s Pastime” exhibit, which included some of the game’s most telling images from its world-renowned archive spanning almost 150 years. Appearances by Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, widely re-

garded as “Baseball’s Greatest Catcher” and a member of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, and two NFL players also captured the attention of guests. Bench served as the pa- rade grand marshal on January 25. That same day, Davon Godchaux, the Miami Dolphins’ “Man of the Year,” and O.J. McDuffie, a former Miami Dolphins wide receiver, did a

Additional fair highlights included agricultural festivities,

including new animal exhibits and competitions, horse bar- rel racing, mounted cowboy shooting demonstrations, the return of the popular “mutton bustin’” and opportunities to view and learn about the award-winning agriculture and livestock program. Rounding out the fair were more than 200 rides, games

and attractions; four stages of music and entertainment; activities in historic Yesteryear Village; a creative crafts and skills competition; Artist Alley, featuring local painters, pho- tographers and sculptors; the Miss South Florida Fair & Miss Palm Beach County Scholarship competitions; and the 20th annual Starz of the Future contest.

meet and greet with fans and signed autographs. Cirque Dreams presented a heart-pounding, non-stop,

colorful explosion of athleticism, acrobatic audacity and festive imagination while the Leaping Lotus Acrobats of China dazzled and amazed audiences with their incredible dexterity and balance with nerve-racking stunts paired with live drumming. Fairgoers also were impressed with a rotating display of

multiple cakes featuring more than 30 sculpted characters — some as tall or long as five feet — made by Beth Town- send, who has been featured on the Food Network, Cook- ing Channel and HGTV. Perhaps one of the greatest success stories of this year’s

fair was the addition of a free Park & Ride Shuttle system set up in partnership with the Mall at Wellington Green.

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