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Fair opens Friday with focus on affordability, wide appeal

BROOKSVILLE

Hernando County Fair Association president Sandra Nicholson admits that putting on a county fair in the midst of a struggling economy has been tough.

It seems everything connected to the event — from providing entertainment and carnival rides to showing livestock — has gotten costlier, while people have less money to spend.

That's why Nicholson and her staff have focused on bringing quality activities to the 62nd annual Hernando County Fair and Youth Livestock Show that won't break anyone's bank.

"We've done what we can to hold down prices and also bring in things that will appeal to a range of ages," Nicholson said. "Sometimes we're surprised at what people like."

Nicholson said that with a bit of luck with the weather, she's hopeful of a rebound at this year's fair, which opens Friday. Attendance has been down for the past few years, which Nicholson attributes to not being able to hold the fair during spring break for local schools, as well as to scheduling conflicts involving the midway concessionaire.

With weekend activities this year aimed mostly at a younger crowd, Nicholson said she and her staff have tried to focus weekday activities toward older patrons, who are more apt to attend during those days. Among the weekday activities: oldies musical and dance acts and cooking demonstrations.

The bulk of the fair's live entertainment year will be indoors in the newly renovated auditorium. The schedule boasts 25 local and regional music and dance acts, including popular area bands such as the Tyler Creek Band, Southern Silk, Brian Chytka and the Terry Cole Show.

On weekends, the outdoor arena will host a variety of events, culminating with the popular demolition derby on the fair's final day, April 13. This year, the fair will welcome Brooksville horse master Tommie Turvey, who gained notoriety for training the Clydesdale horses that were used in this year's popular Budweiser Super Bowl ad.

Livestock committee co-chairwoman Tammy Fincher said that although entries are down slightly for this year's fair, she expects a strong show from youth FFA and 4-H exhibitors from around the county. Entries for the livestock show include 34 steers and 56 pigs. The younger animal showers will have their own exhibit area, where more than three dozen rabbits, chickens and turkeys will be on display.

"For kids who want to learn about raising livestock, the smaller animals are a great starting point," Fincher said. "Many of them are anxious to move up to raising livestock after raising rabbits and chickens."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Hernando County Fair and Youth Livestock Show

When: Friday through April 13

Where: Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville

Admission: $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children ages 3 and younger. Friday is Kids Day, with free gate admission for children 18 and under. Monday is Heroes Appreciation Day, with $3 off admission for active-duty military, fire-rescue and law enforcement personnel with ID. Wednesday is Senior Day, with $5 admission. Parking is free.

Information: (352) 796-4552 or hernandofairgrounds.com.

Friday

(Kids day — free admission for ages 18 and younger)

5 p.m. Gates and midway open ($20 armbands)

6 p.m. Oldyweds & Tiny Threads

6:30 p.m. Poultry show

6:30 p.m. Jack Lovelace

7:30 p.m. Tyler Creek Band

8:30 p.m. Borderline

Saturday

1 p.m. Gates and midway open ($22 armbands)

1 p.m. Youth dairy show

2 p.m. Teri Lyon

3 p.m. Johnny Peers' Muttville comix

4 p.m. Carmen Brandy

4 p.m. Truck and tractor pull

5 p.m. Sheep riding registration

5:30 p.m. Johnny Peers' Muttville comix

6 p.m. Sheep riding contest

6:30 p.m. Nature Coast Tribal Belly Dancers

7:30 p.m. Tyler Creek Band

8:30 p.m. Terry Cole Show

Sunday

1 p.m. Gates and midway open ($15 armbands)

2 to 5 p.m. Swine weigh-in

2 p.m. Beauty pageant

2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tommie Turvey Horse Show

8 p.m. Johnny Peers' Muttville Comix

Monday

(Heroes Day — $3 off with ID)

2 to 5 p.m. Steer weigh-in

5 p.m. Gates and midway open ($18 armbands)

5 p.m. Military fire

5:30 p.m. Galactic Cowboy

6:30 p.m. Rabbit show

7 p.m. Johnny Peers' Muttville Comix

7:30 p.m. Jack Lovelace

Tuesday

5 p.m. Gates open ($18 armbands)

5 p.m. Greased pig registration

5:30 p.m. Tyler Secrest

6 p.m. Greased pig contest

6 p.m. Johnny Peers' Muttville Comix

7 p.m. John Hindman

Wednesday

(Senior Day — $5 admission)

3 p.m. Gates open

3 p.m. Cloverleaf square dance club

5 p.m. Midway opens ($18 armbands)

5 p.m. Kenn "E" Grube Elvis tribute

6 p.m. Klassic Kountry Kloggers

April 11

5 p.m. Gates and midway open ($18 armbands)

5:15 p.m. Jazz Company Swing Band

6:30 p.m. Swine show

7 p.m. Fast Forward

April 12

5 p.m. Gates and midway open ($20 armbands)

5:15 p.m. Alien Country

6:30 p.m. Steer show

6:30 p.m. Northcliffe Worship Band

7:30 p.m. Jennifer Lee & Navaeh Peak

9:30 p.m. Southern Silk

April 13

11 a.m. Livestock auction

1 p.m. Gates and midway open ($22 armbands)

1:30 p.m. Shazadi & the Desert Jewels

2 p.m. Valire Till

3 p.m. Brian Chytka

3 p.m. Demolition derby soccer

5 p.m. Danielle Pacifico with Kathleen Blanco

6 p.m. Glenn Cummings Band

7:30 p.m. Demolition derby (requires $5 armband)

8:30 p.m. Terry Cole Show

Fair opens Friday with focus on affordability, wide appeal 04/03/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:03pm]
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