Cool, clear nights, a parade, and a week filled with thrills, fried Twinkies and entertainment can mean only one thing: the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair is here.
Monday, Statesboro's North and South Main Streets will be lined with people as a parade kicks off the week of the Fair. Kiwanis parade chairman Charles Sheets said this year's parade is bigger than in the past and is a fitting start to the club's 50th fair week in Bulloch County.
From classic cars and antique tractors to beauty queens, horseback riders and colorful floats, the parade includes many sights to behold and will begin at 5 p.m.
The Kiwanis Ogeechee fairgrounds, located on Ga. 67 a few miles south of Statesboro, opens Monday at 6 p.m. with admission either $1 or a can of food, all of which will be donated to the Statesboro Food Bank.
Don Poe, 2011 Fair chairman, said the fair is much bigger this year, with expansions made in celebration of the Fair's 50th anniversary.
Amusements of America will bring back a midway including several major thrill rides.
The newest is a ride called "Vertigo," which hauls riders up 100 feet in the air before swinging them around. The Crazy Mouse rollercoaster is back, and children can enjoy the Kiddie Land section away from the older crowd, in a safe, family-style environment with lots of fun rides, he said.
Along with an expanded midway, the Heritage Village was expanded as well. There, fairgoers can visit the historic Aldrich House where a local farm family lived years ago; a beekeeper's exhibit, an antique farm equipment display, an old timey country store, a poultry exhibit at the old barn, and more.
Honey, cornmeal and grits will be sold and several food vendors will offer good eats in a market style atmosphere.
A brand new entertainment stage is now located in the Heritage Village, with live entertainment each night, he said. The Pirates thrill show and pig racing will return, and animal lovers of all ages will be happy to see the return of a petting zoo, "Sam's Path Petting Zoo," with an assortment of animals to feed, pet and watch.
The Fair has buildings filled with commercial exhibits, homemaking and agricultural exhibits, artwork, and projects by 4-H and FFA members.
Livestock shows will also be held nightly.
Admission all nights except Monday is $5 per person, with senior citizens' day (free admission) on Tuesday.
Wednesday is school day (free admission for all students, but college and university students must show ID).
Thursday is Military Appreciation Day, with military personnel having ID admitted free.
Those who enjoy rides, and did not purchase tickets in advance will pay $1 a ticket to ride, with rides taking three or more tickets each. Club member Debra Pease said $50 will get 56 tickets, and "wrist stamp days" are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Wrist stamps, which allow bearers to ride as many rides as they wish, as many times as they wish, are $18 each for Tuesday and Thursday.
Friday night, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., stamps are $15 and will not be sold outside those hours.
Saturday, a $20 wrist stamp (sold from opening until closing at midnight) provides unlimited rides all day long, she said.
Rides will be reduced in the Kiddie Land from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday as well.
If you get lost, drop your keys or somebody gets hurt, find the Kiwanis Information Booth near the front entrance, she said. The Bulloch County Sheriff's Department and Bulloch County EMS will be on hand all night every night in case of emergencies.
Poe said he hopes everyone will come out and enjoy the annual event that produces funds for the club to filter back into the community through various donations to organizations throughout the year.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.