Those who hope for a clear view of the 45th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair parade Monday at 5 p.m. may wish to grab a spot a little early. The parade, which boasts almost 3,000 participants in about 100 entries, always draws a crowd.
The parade will kick off the fair, which opens at the Statesboro Kiwanis fairgrounds on Ga. 67 just outside of town.
Parade chairman Harry Wachniak said the parade is going to be one of the best ever, and members of the 648th Brigade will serve as grand marshals. Classic cars, floats, beauty queens, tractors, clowns, horses and more will stroll or roll down North and South Main streets, then along a portion of Fair Road, he said.
When the last of the horses trot past, a large portion of the crowd will gravitate towards the fairgrounds, where admission is free Monday. The rest of the week, general admission is $5, up from last year.
Kiwanis Fair Chairman Darrell Colson explained the rise in admission during a club meeting last week. Costs to hold the fair, which is the club’s only fund raiser, have increased drastically since 1993, when admission prices were last increased, he said.
About 45,000 people are estimated to visit the fair this year, he said.
The agricultural fair caters to a variety of interests. Commercial booths and 4-H Club mini booth exhibits educate visitors. Homemade crafts wow crowds as do the canned foods and produce. Bulloch area residents demonstrate what the region has to offer during livestock shows and agricultural displays, found in the Heritage Village.
The midway, owned by Amusements of America, offers games of chance, traditional “fair food” such as Italian sausages and fried dough, and a number of rides — thrilling and bone-chilling for the older riders, as well as a large selection of “kiddie rides” set apart from the busier midway section for families with tiny tots.
There will be about 20 exciting thrill rides, including the Fireball, 1,001 Nights, Pharaoh’s Fury, Ring of Fire, Gravitron, Music Express and the Giant Ferris Wheel, said Dominic Vivona, one of the “Five Vivona Brothers” who own Amusements of America.
“You will be very, very pleased,” he said via telephone Friday evening as his crew readied themselves for the trip to Statesboro. “We also have a beautiful Kiddie Land.”
The Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair draws visitors from all over the region, and offers free entertainment nightly — musical acts as well as nightly performances by the Fearless Flores Circus and Thrill Show.
Local churches, schools and other groups offer food of all kinds — from hamburgers to fried fish, hot dogs and chili, soups and baked goods, and the quintessential fair delicacy — fried Twinkies.
The Statesboro Kiwanis Club operates the popular Pancake House where folk can sit down to a mouth-watering meal of pancakes and sausage. Choose the maple syrup or the fresh cane syrup made right next door. If breakfast for supper isn’t for you, the Circle K Club is planning to have some delicious Boyd’s Barbecue available as well.
Members of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department will be on hand for emergencies and to make sure the event remains a family-safe environment. Deputies will be on patrol inside and outside the fairgrounds, Colson said.
Kiwanis members will be easily identified by yellow shirts or jackets, and will answer questions and offer help to any fair goer who needs assistance. An information booth, which also serves as a lost and found, is located near the fairground entrance. Visitors to the fair may wish to bring along a cell phone, since there are no pay phones available on the grounds.
The fair opens Monday and runs through Saturday. Gates open at 6 p.m. Monday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony; at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and at 1 p.m. Saturday.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, wrist stamps can be purchased for $18. These stamps enable the bearer to ride any ride, as many times as they wish. The stamps are not good for anything other than the midway rides. Stamps will also be sold Friday during “Midnight Madness” from 10 p.m. to 1 p.m., when the fair closes.
Information regarding the day’s events at the fair will be published daily in the Statesboro Herald.