WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For the first time in 109 years, the South Florida Fair will be held in May.
Gates for the annual event opened at 10 a.m. Friday.
Because of COVID-19 considerations, a mini-fair was held in January.
Organizers had only outdoor events and rides for kids.
This time, a full fair inside the expo center and full fun outside with kids and adult rides.
One change from January is that guests are not required to wear masks, although it is strongly recommended. Face masks are mandatory for staff, vendors, board members and volunteers.
Putting two fairs together in one year has been quite the task.
South Florida Fair CEO and President Vicki Chouris said, "The fair is 109 years old and I feel 109 years old after producing a fair in January and again in May," South Florida Fair CEO and President Vicki Chouris said. "It's been a lot of hard work, but the dedicated team we have here -- the staff, the volunteers, the board of directors -- it's going to happen and it's going to be a good one for all of us."
Chouris said the mini-fair was a big success and hopes this month will follow suit.
Wade Shows owner Frank Zaitshik oversees all of the fair rides.
He said lessons learned from the min-fair helped tremendously.
"It was a smashing success," Zaitshik said. "It was far greater than my wildest expectations and, hopefully, the May fair is more of the fair that fairgoers are used to seeing."
This year's fair theme is "An Earthly A-Fair."
Exhibits focusing on keeping our waterways clean to sea life will be front and center.
To account for the warmer weather, ticket booths and entrance gates that would be outside during January have been moved inside
If you want to cool off for a while, you can watch the ice skating performers.
Ice skating shows will be 10 minutes shorter, but there will be more shows throughout the day.
Barret's Candies has been a staple at the fair for 20 years.
Owner John Mardon said he knows when to expect the larger crowds.
"We figure they'll be coming out more during the evening hours," Mardon said. "That's what Florida folk do."
South Florida Fair organizers said the fair will be using a new contactless ticketing system on the gates and on the midway.