SARASOTA, Fla. — The 87th edition of the Sarasota County Fair is underway and getting ready to host its last weekend.
The fair kicked off March 17 at the Sarasota Fairgrounds on 3000 Ringling Boulevard.
This season of the fair is full of the familiar sights, sounds and smells of a county fair as well as a variety of amusement rides, interactive shows, and events.
"I like it. It's good vibes," fairgoer Danielle Rebbick said.
"Food is delicious here. I love it here. The rides are fun, and the elephant ears are amazing," elementary school student Blake explained.
"I like the food, shopping, the rides, to spend time with this one... winning prizes," guests Maddie and Pierce added.
Fair organizers also ramped up security this year after a shooting in 2021 and a security alert in 2022. Along with working with Sarasota police, they've added enhanced security technology all over the fairgrounds
"Now we have over 45 cameras monitoring all the gates, deliveries walkways, so we've invested quite a bit of technology to improve the security of the fair," fair organizer Rory Martin said.
The folks at Visit Sarasota say the fair is among many bonus activities for people visiting the area in March to enjoy.
"We've already got Spring Training, and we got the fabulous beaches with fantastic arts and culture in full swing here in March that, again, the fair just kind of adds one more opportunity for our visitors to consider when looking for something to do," Erin Duggan, vice president of Visit Sarasota, said.
One feature that's absent though is the petting zoo. They had an unfortunate incident last Sunday involving the inappropriate handling of the remains of a stillborn baby goat. It forced the fair to cancel the deal with the petting zoo operator and not enough time to find another.
But not to worry — the organizers say there are plenty of farm animals that kids can interact with and learn a lot about agriculture.
"We do have some new acts this year. The Puppy Pals of America's Got Talent, Agra Kadabra, and then we always have the livestock shows, with the youth," Martin said. "Of course, you know we have Bell City Amusements, our ride partner and we have a lot of wonderful food here. Fair food. You can't do without fair food."
General admission for adults is $12. Kids between ages 6 and 12 can get in for $7. Kids who are 5 and under won't need to pay any admission fee while senior citizens 55 and up can enter by paying $6.
For more information about available online discounts and event schedules, visit sarasotafair.com.