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Fair winds down in style

March 8, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Whether the 93rd Southwest Florida Lee County Fair set attendance records is still out however it was still a great 11 days, featuring wonderful weather and numerous attractions that kept attendees entertained.

Fran Crone, fair manager who was able to find some time to "inspect some of the rides to make sure they were running properly" with her grandkids, said it was another great fair.

"We're not going to be far off from a record. It's been a great few days and the weekend has been good for us. Mother Nature has been good to us," Crone said. "The new rides and acts have been popular and well received, from the lumberjacks to the hypnotists and magic show."

Article Photos

Kaylee Robinson shows off her prize-winning hog at the livestock auction at the Southwest Florida Lee County Fair on Saturday.


Throughout the week, local dance and music acts were on the stage inside the Lee Civic Center entertaining the crowds.

On Saturday afternoon, Melody Lane, a new dance troupe from Cape Coral comprised of local girls aged 7 to 14, danced and tumbled for friends and family.

Katarina Denks, who owns the dance studio with three other people, said they officially opened for business in January, but had been working on this particular program since May.

"We tried to book some community performances before the competition season and wanted to book some larger events for the exposure," Denks said. "We're brand new and we need exposure for awareness. Many of our families are in the North Fort Myers and Cape Coral areas, so it's only fitting we come to the fair."

Next to the stage was the Creative Living section, which had been going on at the fair since it was held at Terry Park in the 1960s. Arts and crafts and other interesting things are judged and presented, from flowers to Legos.

Connie Prevatt said the section is put on by Interwill, a club that raises money for bioelectric limbs for children and uses volunteers to put it all together.

"Every year it gets bigger and better. It's expanded this year to include horticulture on Wednesday and master gardening about roses and palms," Prevatt said. "Much of this is recycling and arts and photography and quilting. It's a variety of things."

Meanwhile, on the other end of the fair, it was the biggest day of the year for the 4-H members, where their hogs and heifers were auctioned off, from the best in show animals to those to all those raised with care.

Kaylie Robinson, a first-year member of 4-H, auctioned off her swine at $7.25 per pound. That was good for about $2,100, minus the expenses in raising the animal from an 86-pound baby to a 280-pound piece of prime bacon, good for a profit of between $800 and $1,000.

As a rookie, Robinson, a freshmen at Riverdale High School, was sad to see her pig being taken to slaughter, thus breaking the cardinal rule about not getting too attached to your animal.

"You know it will be a market animal and you can't do anything about it. I have no idea how I won. I showed my pig the best I could and she knew what she was supposed to do," Robinson said. "I wish I had done this when I was younger."

Crone said she has received very positive feedback about the fair and hopes to make it even better next year.

"You improve a little bit every year when you go to other fairs and see what they're doing," Crone said. "You don't have to reinvent the wheel. It's about sharing ideas, and having different things."



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