South Florida Fair officially kicks off

Hundreds of families pack fairgrounds Friday
Posted at 8:41 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 22:45:51-05

Get ready to ride and eat until you drop. The South Florida Fair is officially underway.

Hundreds of families packed the fairgrounds after the opening ceremony on Friday.

There's dozens of rides, free live entertainment and lots of games for the kids, but many people say they come especially for the food.

This year's theme is New Orleans so fair-goers are letting the good times roll with red beans and rice, Jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish -- the list goes on.

"Shrimp n' grits we saw it on television this morning and decided we wanted to come, its the first thing we wanted to try," said Linda Ruzeski, fairgoer.

But Todd Laker came specifically for the doughnut burger, which has become a fair staple for the past several years. It's made with a burger grilled to perfection, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion -- all sandwiched between two hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

"Seen it on the signs every year and I think no way that doesn't go together but it is very good," he said. "I avoided it for three years until now. It's delicious."

"At the fair, this is my favorite part. I eat all the bad food -- all you can get," said Marcus Andrews, who also chomped down on a doughnut burger.

Eugene Schooler of Sivori Catering from Louisville, Kentucky is the man behind some of the fried goodness.

"This the type of sandwich that you want to hold on tight like you did your loved one last night and everything will be alright," he said of the doughnut burger.

He showed us how he makes his the brand new "totchos" and the special beer cheese tots, both topped with bacon.

"Until they take that first bite. We always tell them, Jenny Craig -- we leave her outside the gate. Don't worry about calories, OK?" he said.

For some families, the cost of the fair can also add up. People like Christine Werring, who visited the fair with a group of six, save up for the fair every year.

"I make a little envelope every year and I put a little bit and along the year," she said. "This is my thing everybody calls me big fair dork"

She and fellow mom Emily Brock took several of their kids out for a day of fun on Friday.

"We save up because we know it's coming. We set aside holiday money so that we can come in and use it for this," said Brock.

Food, rides and tickets can cost families hundreds of dollars. Depending on when you go, adult admission costs $15 with ride wristbands costing $25. Food prices run between $5 and $15.

"Prices do you seem to be kind of high but if you watch what you're doing you can get special deals," said fairgoer Rick Hackl.

"That's his job. I spend the money, he tries to save it," joked his wife, Linda.

But fair organizers say there are some new additions to the fair this year to help you save.

"Every Tuesday during the fair is Two Dollar Fat Tuesday. Both on the 24 and 17 of January, you can get admission for two dollars, a bunch of the rides for two dollars. And every food vendor has an item for two dollars," said Rick Vymlatil, president and CEO of the South Florida Fair.

Wednesdays are two for one admission. And senior day on January 23 means $5 admission for senior citizens.

Fairgoers told me they take advantage of coupons, too.

"Coke cans, you can save five dollars as well," said Brock.

"You can buy a discount ticket at Publix and use it again to come back, so that's a great way," said Werring.

The fair organizers are a private non-profit so the revenues from the fair go toward making improvements for future fairs, such as the brand new pavement in the ride area and a new security center on the grounds.

The fair runs daily until January 29.

Click here to look at schedules, maps, ticket pricing, live fair cameras and much more by visiting