GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The only sounds coming from the Clay County Fairgrounds Wednesday morning were the occasion clangs of wrenches tightening bolts and delivery trucks dropping off an assortment …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The only sounds coming from the Clay County Fairgrounds Wednesday morning were the occasion clangs of wrenches tightening bolts and delivery trucks dropping off an assortment of foods that will be battered and deep-fried during the next 10 days.
The Tilt-A-Whirl was neither titling or whirling. The Typhoon was hardly a whisper. And the new Space Port was still a day away from launch.
But that all changed Thursday.
“At this point, if we don’t have it ready to go, it’s not happening,” said fair general manager Tasha Hyder. “We’re ready to roll out the green carpet.”
The grand opening of the Clay County Agriculture Fair was Thursday afternoon. Since it’s an agriculture fair, there were no red carpets, only green, Hyder said.
If the weather cooperates through April 13, Hyder expects record crowds.
“We usually get about 115,000 if the weather plays nice,” she said. “This year, we expect 125,000-130,000. I’d be really disappointed if we didn’t hit that number this year. This should be our largest fair ever.”
This year’s fair will feature an expanded entertainment lineup and a new tractor and truck pull. And it will mark the debut of Deggeller Attractions’ new ride, the Space Port. The new attraction, which looks like a giant wind turbine, was introduced two months ago at the IISF Trade Show in Orlando. After the show, Andy Deggeller bought the ride.
“We’re happy we will be the first fair for Space Port,” Hyder said. “It’s the tallest attraction we’ve ever had here.”
The fair opens at 2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. on Saturday; 11 a.m. on Sunday; 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; noon on April 11, and 10 a.m. on April 12-13.
For four local girls, the fair started early. Sadie Pouncey (Junior Miss), Hailey Alilio (Pre-Teen Miss), Mattie Hancock (Teen Miss) and Lillian Wonpat (Miss Clay County Fair Queen), all won their pageants last week. Each will represent the fair, while Wonpat earned a $1,000 scholarship and Hancock earned $500.