SEBRING — Even if the ground is wet at the Highlands County Fair this year, leave your boots at home unless you want to wear them.
George White, fair manager, said in past years, fairgoers walking to the midway got their shoes muddy or wet traversing an unpaved area during rainy weather.
But since last year’s county fair, the Highlands County Fair Association has paved that area, White said.
“There’s no more walking in the mud,” White said.
Thanks to that, he said, he has been told the fair’s rating now is Class A. A lot of other fairgrounds have just grassy areas, he said.
The county fair will be held from Friday, Feb. 10 to Feb. 18. Admission is $8, and an arm band that allows unlimited amusement rides for one day costs $22. On Thursday, Feb. 16, any child in school who brings a can of food gets free admission, he said.
Mostly, the fair will feature rides, food, entertainment, livestock auctions, and pageants that attract thousands of people every year. This year, fair officials expect 35,000 visitors, White said.
One offering that is coming back after for several years is a petting zoo. It will have goats, llamas, a zebra, miniature cows and a kangaroo, he said, along with pony rides.
White said more amusement rides this year will have LED lights.
Like last year, the fair will have a hypnotist, and a master carver will demonstrate his talents. There will be a face painter and a traffic display. The fair also will have a display of antique tractors.
The Strawberry Shack, which sells food, will be open again with proceeds going to benefit graduating high school seniors in Highlands County.
White expects the fair will have about the same number of food vendors as last year. A wide variety of food will be available, he added.
This year’s livestock auction will feature goats for the first time, but they won’t be sold this year, he said, because the livestock committee wants to gauge interest. If there’s enough interest, goats will be sold next year, White said.
The entertainment lineup is as follows: Friday, Feb. 10; Bullet Proof; Saturday, Feb. 11, Tommy Brandt; Monday, Feb. 13, Avon Park High School Choir; Tuesday, Feb. 14, California Toe Jam Band; Wednesday, Feb. 15, Highlands Jam Band; Friday, Feb. 17, Amanda Keller Band.
White noted that Brandt and his father, who live in Sebring when not touring, have won Christian country music awards.