WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Sunday wrapped up the final night of the 2022 South Florida Fair, and staff said this year was a huge success.
"I got stopped so many times this year with people saying to me, 'I grew up on this fair and now I'm here with my children,' so you know it is a family tradition that is taking place in Palm Beach County," said Vicki Chouris, president and CEO of the South Florida Fair.
"The fair this year was a full fair. We had everything that we have in our offerings — our animals, our entertainment, our parades, our food, our rides. It was all here and people came to enjoy it, so we're very pleased with how the 2022 fair panned out," said Chouris. "I feel good. I'm out being a fairgoer myself today, just taking it all in and enjoying it all and making sure that everybody is having a good time."
For families like Shane Beckford and his son, they came to the fair earlier in the week and wanted one more round before the 17-day fair wrapped up its final night.
"If we're going to have the fair, this is a good time to do it. We've tried to go to Disney in the summer and it's always regrettable, so this is a perfect time of year. It's beautiful and I'm glad that we ended on a high note," said Beckford. "We understood what happened last year in terms of the pandemic, but this year it has really showed the necessity for Palm Beach County, specifically, and people coming from different counties to be part of the fair. So they've done an amazing job, they've pulled it off."
For other families, it's a family tradition 17 years strong.
"Eating, having a good time, having a few cocktails, taking some bags home for the kids, having a good time," said Felipe and Andrea Diaz.
During the pandemic, the fair had to scale back on operations, but this year, Chouris said, people were ready to get back to the fun.
This year didn't go without a few challenges at the South Florida Fair.
The first weekend had some rain. Then the winter weather played a factor.
There was also an issue with unsupervised minors, leading staff to establish a rule that after 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, minors would have to be supervised by an adult and must buy a ride wristband.
Chouris said the new rule was successful in keeping visitors and vendors happy and plans to continue the rule at some capacity in the coming years.
"The more people that are being residents here as our population increases, the more important the fair becomes to everybody," said Chouris.