Photo by Brian McCord

Nothing says America quite like a Florida county fair. From the funnel cakes and livestock shows to the canning contest and the tilt-a-whirl, county fairs and festivals are a mix of good old-fashioned food and fun – with an agricultural twist.

Fairs and farms are forever linked. County fairs began as agricultural events and youth livestock shows and competitions remain the foundation of county fairs. Today’s thrill rides, live bands and eating contests are icing on the cake.

Millions of people attend Florida’s festivals, county fairs and livestock shows, a nod to their entertainment value and the rich agricultural heritage.

More than 50 county fairs and festivals fill the Florida calendar from September to April.

For generations, these events have showcased the past, present and future of Florida agriculture. They bring out the best in tomorrow’s agricultural leaders through 4-H and FFA livestock competitions, exhibits, and demonstrations. And they often celebrate the bounty of Florida farms, from kumquats in Pasco County to strawberries in Hillsborough County.

Photo by J. Kyle Kener

Throughout Florida, fair and festival organizers bring fresh ideas and attractions to keep the events entertaining, educational, and worth the road trip.

“For local residents, Chalo Nitka is a homecoming festival,” says Tracy Whirls, executive director of the Glades County Economic Development Council. “Family members who have left Glades County return to visit and enjoy the annual event.”

On March 2 and 3, 2018, the Chalo Nitka Festival will honor its 70th year commemorating Glades County’s long-running relationship between the pioneering cowboys who establish beef cattle ranches and the Seminole Indians who live there. Families celebrate with two nights of rodeo action, a day full of kids’ activities and live entertainment. Ahead of the festival, the fair features youth livestock shows and sales, culminating in a buyers’ dinner to fund college scholarships.

A month later, the Levy County Fair (April 5-8, 2018) kicks off its four days of educational fun, thrilling rides, fresh onstage entertainment and new ground performances. Even as the fair has evolved for more than a decade, the fair board upholds its mission to preserve and enhance the rich heritage of the local agriculture community with livestock, equestrian, and artisan shows that showcase the finest of Levy County.

“County fairs are still a very big staple point in our community,” the Levy County Fair Executive Board says. “It is a time for families to come out to a local event that has fun and entertainment for the entire family. We work hard to make sure our county fair continues on for generations to come.”


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