Whether it’s heart-pumping thrill rides, crafts exhibits, cotton candy and funnel cakes, livestock shows or live entertainment, the upcoming Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair has something to tickle everyone’s fancy.
Starting off the week-long annual carnival is a parade in downtown Statesboro Monday. Statesboro Kiwanis parade chairman Charles Sheets said “the show will go on rain or shine,” unless the rainfall is torrential, but expectations for the weather early next week are cool and sunny, according to the National Weather Service (www.noaa.gov).
Starting at 5 p.m., the parade will wind through Statesboro’s downtown, bringing floats, dignitaries, classic cars and antique tractors, horseback riders, clowns, beauty queens and much more as the entries stroll or roll through streets lined with people.
The Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds will open at 6 p.m. Monday, and a special deal that night only offers reduced admission ($3) with a donation of canned food for the Statesboro Food Bank. Regular admission is $5.
Amusements of America has partnered with the Statesboro Kiwanis Club for over 20 years in bringing a family-style, quality midway to the fair. Robbie Vivona, whose family owns Amusements of America, said one new ride this year is “The Experience,” a ride with three “arms” that have cars at the ends and spin riders in all directions. The Giant Ferris Wheel, Gravitron, Crazy Mouse roller coaster and several more thrill rides, complete with flashing LED lights, will create an atmosphere of excitement as riders scream with joy and maybe just a little fright.
There is a Kiddie section as well, separate from the hustle and bustle of the larger rides, and a new T-Rex Adventure ride is sure to make the little ones happy, he said.
More than rides
While the midway is a large part of the fair, there is much more to the annual fundraising event that filters money back into local charities and causes through club donations. The fair is an agricultural fair that represents seven counties (Bulloch, Bryan, Candler, Evans, Jenkins, Screven and Tattnall) and draws visitors from places even further away.
There are livestock shows, a petting zoo, and a Heritage Village that includes an old farmhouse that housed Statesboro’s Monroe and R.E. Aldrich family in days gone by; an operating blacksmith shop, grist mill, beekeeping exhibit, barnyard stocked with animals, an old country store and a stage area where several entertainment performances will be held.
Adjacent to the Heritage Village is a food court featuring several local vendors offering fresh fried pork skins, boiled peanuts, funnel cakes, hamburgers and hot dogs, turkey legs, and hearty dishes such as chicken and rice or chili.
Other booths nearby also have things like chicken tenders, French fries, baked goods and novelties such as fried Oreos. These booths benefit area churches and other organizations as a way to raise funds,
There is also the famous Kiwanis Pancake House, where fresh cane syrup is found on tables to complement pancakes and sausage; and the Barbecue Hut.
There are food vendors on the midway, too. Italian sausages, pizza slices, fried Twinkies and more can be sampled as one roams the midway in between games of chance and thrill rides.
Exhibits and entertainment
Before one reaches the midway, there are buildings filled with exhibits and competition entries. The large building as the fairgrounds entrance hold commercial exhibits and an area where competitors display items such as local crop samples, home-canned relishes and jams, and other home-baked goodies.
Outside there are exhibits from local automobile and recreational vehicle dealers, vendor booths offering toys and novelties, a cane-grinding and syrup-boiling station, and a lost-and-found booth.
Mini-booths –projects made by local 4-H and FFA members, are housed in one building, while crafts projects, art and floral arrangements fill another.
“This year we are rocking Heritage Village with back-to back live concerts every night of the fair,” said Statesboro Kiwanis member Mike Bowen, in charge of entertainment.
“The Heritage Village Back Porch and Heritage Village Concert Stage will showcase some of the area's best local talent. Country, contemporary, rock and bluegrass musicians will perform, plus the talents of several local school choruses, church choirs and even the Statesboro High School steel drum band and School of Rock.”
More entertainment includes racing pig, the Lady Houdini Thrill Show, and “continuous shows at Bob Bohme's Family Entertainment Stage from opening till close each night as well,” he said. “Bob will be doing three shows; magic, Farm-ily Feud, and Survivor.”
Sam's Path Petting Zoo will be open in Heritage Village each night with free admission as well, he said.
There are several specials throughout the week as well. In addition to the reduced admission on Monday if you have a canned good to donate, there are nights senior citizens, students and military families are admitted free.
Also, wrist stamps on certain nights will allow a bearer unlimited rides.
The Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair runs through Saturday, Oct. 24.
MONDAY, Oct. 19
• Parade at 5 p.m. downtown Statesboro
• Food Bank Night - $2 off $5 admission with a donation of canned/nonperishable food.
• Fair opens at 6 p.m., closes at 11:30 p.m.
• Donnie Collins performs at 6 p.m.
• J. Brown Band performs at 8 p.m.
TUESDAY, Oct. 20
• Senior Citizens Day – free admission to seniors.
• Fair opens at 4 p.m., closes at 11:30 p.m.
• Wrist stamp for $18 entitles bearer to unlimited rides.
• Market Hog and Gilt show – 6 p.m.
• Coty James and Friends performs at 6 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21
• Student Night – students admitted free; college and university students must show ID.
• Reduced ride prices.
• Fair opens at 4 p.m., closes at 11:30 p.m.
• Langston Chapel Middle School chorus – 5:30 p.m.
• Chandler Fritts and Benji Taylor perform at 6 p.m.
• Market Goat Show – 6 p.m.
• Statesboro High School Steel Drum Band – 7 p.m.
• The Orange Constant performs at 8 p.m.
THURSDAY, Oct. 22
• Military Appreciation Night – military (active duty and retired) and immediate family admitted free (must show ID).
• Wrist stamps purchased for $18 entitle bearers to unlimited rides.
• Fair opens at 4 p.m. and closes at 11:30 p.m.
• John Hunter Bowen and John Manack perform at 5 p.m.
• Market Lamb & Ewe Show – 6 p.ml.
• Later Today performs at 6 p.m.
• Carry On performs at 8 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCT. 23
• Moonlight Madness – wrist stamps are reduced to $15, but sold only after 8 p.m., and entitle bearer to unlimited rides.
• Fair opens at 4 p.m., closes at 1 a.m.
• Abby Hart performs at 5 p.m.
• Emma Bacon performs at 6 p.m.
• Drew Wiggins performs at 7 p.m.
• Micahlan Boney performs at 8 p.m.
SATURDAY, Oct. 24
• Kiddie Land Special –Kiddie section only; $1 each from 1-3 p.m.
• Wrist stamps purchased for $20 – good all day and entitles bearer to unlimited rides.
• School of Rock performs at 4 p.m.
• Daniel Johnson performs at 6 p.m.
• Parker Grove Church performs at 8 p.m.
• Fair opens at 1 p.m. and closes at midnight.