Lake County Fair

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Christine Cole | Special To The Sentinel

EUSTIS – Lake County Fair organizers expect to see at least as many people come through the gates — 62,000 — as last year.

That is, if it doesn’t rain.

The family-oriented event, which kicks off a 10-day run at 5 p.m. today at the Lake County Fairgrounds, was marred by wet weather last year.

“During the first four days, we had nine hours with no rain,” said Charles E. “Happy” Norris, fair manager since 1997.

Norris said economic woes are not likely to keep people away but might affect how much they shell out for food and rides.

“Industry people say these are good times for county fairs,” he said. “In reality, their spending might be down a little.”

The fair’s main purpose is to provide a place for county youths to show their livestock and their horticultural projects, which help teach them marketing and salesmanship. But it also has other purposes, including providing a place for adults to show their skills in fields from baking and canning to painting and photography.

And then there’s the food and the fun.

A new midway provider, Belle City Amusements, is slated to bring some rides that will be new to Lake.

The popular Karaoke Night begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Talent-show finals will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 11.

The Dirt Brothers, a country-rock band from Memphis, will perform at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and April 9 and 10. They also will perform at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Silver Star Band from Leesburg will do shows at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. April 9 and 10.

Other entertainment includes daily firefighting training, Seal Splash-In, Nick’s Kids Show, Oscar the Robot, Denny the Clown and Tom Umiker’s “Our Rural Heritage.”

“This year, we are offering more shows, better-quality shows for the same money,” Norris said. “We are offering more of everything this year. We believe we give a good value for their dollar.”

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