South Florida Fair sports Mardi Gras theme

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 08:48:22-05

If you're looking for something fun to do with the family soon, look no further from the South Florida Fair.

It starts Thursday with a ride-a-thon and then a full opening on Friday.

This year's theme? New Orleans and Mardi Gras. It features seven floats straight from New Orleans.

"We contacted the folks at Mardi Gras World, found out that we could get props like this," Rick Vymlatil, president and CEO of South Florida Fairs, says. Instead of a parade three days a week, authentic floats will be featured in daily Mardi Gras inspired parades.

"We've never done New Orleans," he says.

Also fresh from New Orleans, the biggest prop of the whole fair, "It's a New Orleans style glass house on a carnival midway," Rick says, as he showed it off.

Some old favorites will be back too, inspired by The Big Easy. Like Yesteryear Village complete with Bayou Ghost Tours. Also, a New Orleans ice show, French market for shopping, and a New Orleans style food court.


If you're wondering how the rides are kept safe, here's how:

There are 73 rides; all of them are inspected in the week prior, and then again all 17 in mornings before the fair opens.

"What we can do is start at the controls," says Jonathan Brooks a 3rd party safety consultant. He's walked me through every point of inspection for the Monster Truck ride.

"The ride will not run unless the operator has a foot inside the pedal," he says. 

Already cleared by Florida state inspectors once, the ride will be checked again every morning. They'll  look for potential hazards. Do the seat belts work? Are their jagged edges inside?

"We would come into the center and make sure that the actual passenger carrier is attached. And there's cables under here that you got to look at," he says.

And lastly, to the rides core, checking pins, belts and tires.

"We're out here making sure the rides are safe," he says.