The 58th annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair won’t be the same as fairs of the past. An expanded fairgrounds, a jazzed-up midway and a different collection of entertainment performances are coming, along with some policy, admission and ride fee changes.
Tickets for rides will still be sold, but the popular wrist stamps that allow unlimited rides all night long will be sold every night, said Statesboro Kiwanis Club president-elect Ashlee Corbin. The wrist stamps are $20, except on Saturday, when they are $25.
Admission is $5 for adults, with children age 5 and younger admitted free. Discounted admission ($2) will take place on Tuesday for senior citizens (age 55+) and Wednesday for local military and public service workers; active duty and retired military and their dependents; and police officers, sheriff’s department employees, EMS and firefighters and their dependents. On Thursday, students will receive discounted admission of $2. College and high school students will be required to show ID, Corbin said.
Another change on the fairgrounds is that there will be no smoking or vaping allowed. Anyone seen doing so will be asked to stop or leave, she said.
New rides, entertainment, layout
With the expanded grounds, there is more room for more rides and attractions. According to Dominic Vivona Jr., whose family owns Amusements of America, the company will be bringing several new rides as well as old favorites that haven’t been in Statesboro in a while.
The midway will be arranged differently, with a new flow for foot traffic, to accommodate the additions, he said.
New kiddie rides include the Charlie Chopper, with helicopters that go up and down, a balloon ride and a new teacup ride, he said. Pharoah’s Fury, the Rock Star and a smaller Ferris wheel, in addition to the giant Ferris wheel, are coming, too, along with familiar thrill rides such as the Sizzler, the Vertigo swing ride and the Cliffhanger, he said.
Fair Chairman Jamie Copeland said entertainment will have a new year, too. The racing pigs won’t return, but the Banana Derby will have people giggling as they watch monkeys riding dogs.
The RoboCars — people dressed in costumes that change into cars — will be seen throughout the grounds. The Jurassic Kingdom is an “interactive and educational dinosaur show,” and the Stilt Lady will wander around, looming above everyone as she performs a comedy routine and interacts with fairgoers. Returning will be escape artist Lady Houdini and Sam’s Path Petting Zoo.
Corbin said there will be nightly entertainment, free with admission. On Monday, Julia Muldrew and Wild Card will each be performing, and the Chris Mitchell Band and Set in Stone are both scheduled for Tuesday. On Wednesday, Brian Conley will perform, followed by Lynn Avenue. Thursday’s lineup includes Moss City Groove and Drew Wiggins and Friends. Daniel Navarro and Claxton Hustle will both play Friday, and Saturday’s entertainment will feature the School of Rock, followed by Brady and the Bazookas.
Corbin said the Statesboro Kiwanis Club strives to keep the weeklong fair safe and suitable for families.
“The Child ID program is back to keep children safe, with wrist bands with a parent’s phone number written on them so we can call a parent if someone is lost,” she said.
There will also be free wi-fi for guests this year, thanks to Bulloch Telephone, she said.
The fair is open to participants from seven counties (Bulloch, Tattnall, Evans, Bryan, Jenkins, Screven and Emanuel) and draws visitors from all across the region.
In addition to the midway, there is a Heritage Village including agricultural displays, a historic farm house (the Aldrich House), an old country store and more.
“The Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair is an historic event that's been going on for 58 years,” Corbin said. “We are deeply rooted in Bulloch County, and we are dedicated to preserving the history of this amazing place.”
Members of local 4H and FFA clubs compete in livestock shows as well as mini-booth educational displays, and area residents compete in homemaking, art and other agricultural divisions.
The Statesboro Kiwanis Club uses the proceeds from the fair to distribute donations to several charitable entities and causes throughout the community, Copeland said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.