On its 61st anniversary, the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair will return its beloved parade to the traditional Monday afternoon opening of the Fair.
And there will be new rides, more food vendors, a variety of bands and other entertainment as well as the traditional agricultural exhibits and exciting midway in 2023. The Fair kicks off with the annual parade Oct. 16 at 5 p.m., with the fairgrounds opening at 6 p.m. that Monday and running through Saturday, Oct. 21.
Fair hours for 2023 will be 6 p.m. to midnight, Monday; 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday; and noon to midnight to close the 2023 Fair on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Admission prices will stay the same. Gate admission is $10, and advance tickets bought online at kiwanisogeecheefair.org are $8. Children age 5 and younger are admitted free.
Also, Tuesday, Oct. 17, is “Senior Night” for those 65 and over with free admission to all who present a proper ID.
As usual, about 100 entries, including beauty queens, tractors, classic cars and trucks, dignitaries and floats are expected to line up in the same area as always, with the parade stepping off on North Main Street at 5 p.m.
The parade will follow the traditional route along North and South Main streets to Fair Road. Judges will be on the west side of the street, taking note of floats created by school and dance groups, local businesses and various clubs and organizations competing for prizes, judged on the theme “Carnival Lights & Country Lights.”
Also, participants are asked not to throw candy at the crowd and only give handouts to those on the curb.
A kiddie ride that was introduced last year will return, on which parents can accompany their children. “The Puppy Ride” is similar to the old Teacup Ride, said Dominic Vivona Jr., a member of the Vivona family that owns Amusements of America, which has provided midway rides to the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair for decades.
Also, a brand-new Giant Ferris Wheel, with new lighting, was brought in last year and will return; the Cliffhanger, where you lay flat like Superman flying; Pharoah’s Fury, the swinging boat ride, and the Surf Shack Fun House all will return.
Fairs are all about food, and there will be “lots more food vendors including an ice cream stand,” he said.
All the usual funnel cakes, Italian sausages, candy apples and cotton candy will be there, and along Heritage Village local vendors will offer hotdogs, hamburgers, seafood, chili, chicken and rice and other mouthwatering treats.
The Heritage Village also includes an authentic farmhouse and barn, antique farm implements, an old general store, grist mill and bee exhibit. That is also the area where entertainment is held.
The fair also includes commercial exhibits, livestock shows, arts and crafts, contests for baked goods, jams and jellies, crops and more. Students compete in projects for 4-H and FFA and their mini-booth projects will be on display.
The All-American Petting Zoo and All-American Pig Racing will return and are always favorites of fair-goers.
The Andy Rotz Wild West Show highlights new entertainment for the 2023 Fair.
Rotz actually holds the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive Texas rope skips that he set 20 years ago and stands today. He also is a fast draw world champion and will provide an action-filled show.
Comedian, juggler and stiltwalker Carrie McQueen will offer a fun family show. “Mr. Puppet” will feature ventriloquism, puppets and lots of audience participation. The “High Flying Pages Thrill Show” is a family that brings an aerial act centered on a flying trapeze. And glass artist Ryan Gothrup will bring his mobile glass trailer to offer entartinment and education to the audience.
The Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair was voted – again – as the Best of the Boro’s Best Annual Community Event. In its 61st year, the week-long agricultural fair draws thousands from the region, serving seven local counties in 4-H, FFA and agricultural competitions. Proceeds from the Fair are distributed to numerous local charities and causes, returning tens of thousands of dollars back into the community each year.