A state institution for over 100 years, the South Florida Fair is a 17-day extravaganza of music, exhibitions, great food and fairground rides. After the success of last year’s New Orleans theme, 2018 is all about parades. Every day of the fair will celebrate a different parade from around the world, so visitors can expect plenty of lively music, colourful costumes and authentically decorated Mardi Gras floats in addition to a ‘Magical Parades’ exhibition. From music and entertainment to regional history, exhilarating rides and wickedly good food, The Chesterfield Palm Beach’s guide to this fun-filled event will help you make the most of everything on offer.
The fair originally began in 1912 as a way of promoting the region’s agricultural enterprises. A cherished event for the local community, the event was known as the Palm Beach County Fair and Exposition to begin with, and it managed to miraculously survive the Great Depression and two World Wars in addition to the economic ebb and flow of the 20th century. Today, the fair attracts over half a million visitors to Palm Beach every January and the Fairground itself spans 135 acres. This space includes the Expo Center, where the Buckler’s Craft Show and the West Palm Beach Antiques & Collectibles Show are held, and it’s also home to the Kubota Agriplex, which houses the agricultural section of the fair. Other onsite attractions include the historic Yesteryear Village and the Coral Sky Amphitheatre, the biggest outdoor concert venue in Florida.
The Fair is famous for its two ‘Bike Nite’ parades, which feature over 250 bikers riding both two and three wheel motorcycles. Thrill-seekers are also spoilt for choice thanks to over 200 carnival rides, which include classic rides like the Mega Drop, as well as an Instagram perfect view from the gentler paced Ferris wheel. The main musical entertainment takes place on the Coca Cola stage, which plays host to a fantastic array of music from classic country to rock and Latin and Brazilian acts.
Full of traditional favourites, the South Florida Fair is the ideal place to indulge a sweet tooth or salty cravings, or both! Prepare to sample some weird and wonderful dishes such as fried chicken made with frosted flakes, an ice cream parfait topped with pulled pork or a classic donut burger. If you’re after more traditional American cuisine, then there’s also plenty of delicious Southern food from nearby state, Louisiana. Try a New Orleans Po’boy sandwich or a classic grill serving bourbon chicken, gumbo and jambalaya.
A Wild West Experience
If your time in the American South has inspired you to get in touch with your inner cowboy, the South Florida Fair has just the opportunity for you. The event is host to animal auctions, cow competitions and Mutton Bustin,’ where children can ride sheep. Don’t miss the chance to witness some of the unique events, such as the regional Poultry BBQ Contest.
Take a trip to the past at Palm Beach’s living history park, which recreates a time when houses didn’t have running water but they did have goats and chickens in their backyards. It’s an interactive experience, where you can chat to the town residents, who’ll tell you about what their daily life was like before 1940. Whilst there, give yourself the spooks on one of the YesterYear Village Ghost Tours, where an old boat captain, Bubba Brantley, leads visitors on an eerie trail.
After a day exploring the South Florida Fair, relax and unwind in The Leopard Lounge Bar at The Chesterfield Palm Beach, known for its fantastic cocktails and live music.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of the South Florida Fair.