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It's a fair share of entertainment

The entertainment at the annual Citrus County Fair will have a few new twists this year.

The traditional livestock shows and auctions and the midway of rides once again will be offered when the fair opens March 16. But this year, the fair also will have a Wild Video Dance Party, a Chicken Barbecue Cook-off and a pet show.

"We put out the word to the community that we needed help with the entertainment and the response was tremendous," said Jean Grant, manager of the fair. "I think what we have ended up with will be pleasing."

The theme of this year's fair is Big Time, Show Time, Fun Time, Fair Time. Grant promises a week full of family fun with more than 40 entertainers scheduled to perform.

The video party is one of several events that will take place before the fair officially opens. The party will be from 7 p.m. to midnight March 14 under the big tent at the fairgrounds.

Teen-agers and young adults are invited to dance and watch

music videos. A video jockey with a library of more than 2,500 videos will take requests. Admission is $3.

Two other pre-opening day events will take place at the Curtis Peterson Auditorium in Lecanto. The Miss Teen Citrus County Beauty Pageant will be at 6:30 p.m. March 8. The Miss Citrus Scholarship Pageant will be at 8 p.m. March 9.

Another new wrinkle at this year's fair will be the Chicken Barbecue Cook-off sponsored by the 4-H Club at 2 p.m. March 17.

The categories for competition will include two youth groups and one adult group, with participants required to bring chicken and equipment to cook two halves for the judges. Entry is free, but contestants must register by March 9 at the 4-H office or the Fair Office in Inverness.

The last day of the fair will include the new pet show, which is designed to involve more people with participation in the animal shows, Grant said.

"If you want to be a part of the Citrus County Fair, just bring your pet on down that Saturday and come through the south gate," she said. "You don't need a farm animal and everybody gets a prize."

In addition to exploring the midway, people can tour exhibits featuring everything from crafts to horticulture, said Hal Porter, president of the fair association. "We try to include anything which a person can make," he said.

The livestock portion will include the traditional displays of farm animals, many of which will be auctioned during the fair. A petting zoo will be open each day.

Other entertainment will include pageants, singers, bands, dancers, speakers, Citrus County Firefighters and a cross-cut saw competition.

Opening day of the fair will be sponsored by the Citrus 95 radio station. Admission will be 95 cents for adults; children 6 and under will be admitted free.

March 17 is Senior Citizens' Day. Admission for people 55 and older will be $2. Friday will be set aside as School Day, and students will be admitted free until 5 pm.

Other days, the general admission will be $4 for adults, $2 for children age 6-12, and free for those under 6.

Bus service will be provided to the fair on the mass transit service for a $1 fee each way. For a schedule, call 746-4844.

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