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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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4-H and FFA members prepare to exhibit their sheep
Members of the 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America (FFA) prepare to exhibit the sheep they have raised during the previous year. Photo courtesy of Central Florida Fair

Central Florida Fair

The Central Florida Fair is the oldest and largest not-for-profit fair in Central Florida. For eleven days over two hundred thousand visitors, local and tourists, attend the Central Florida Fair which features rides, live entertainment, horticulture and agriculture displays, petting zoos, dancing and cooking contests. The fair showcases the accomplishments of residents from six Florida counties: Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia, Lake and Brevard.

The theme for the 88th annual Central Florida Fair for 2000 was "Strive to Make a Difference." Attended by over 205,000, this year's fair featured free entertainment such as Rock-It Robot, a blacksmith with a working forge, a Wild West show, Paul Bunyan Lumberjack show, Frisco's Exotic Petting Zoo & Elephant Show, and the Adriatic Attractions. There are many exhibits and competitions, including 4-H contests, craftsmen, needlework and quilting contests, a state Future Farmers of American (FFA) contest, and livestock auctions. The fair also features performances by local entertainers. Each day has a different highlight, such as free admission for college students, family day with discount ride coupons, school-field-trip and senior-citizen days, and 102 JAMZ Nite.

Between fairs, the 87-acre facility, which includes five exhibit halls, a crafts hall, social hall, and covered pavilion, can be rented in whole or in part for trade shows, concerts, company picnics, seminars or crafts shows. The fair grounds are so frequently used during the year, it is estimated that one and a half million people visit them each year.

The Central Florida Fair's earliest beginnings can be traced back to 1886 and the display of agricultural products in the agricultural building constructed by Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. Today the Fair provides more than just thrills and entertainment. It awards over $125,000 in prizes, awards, and ribbons for its exhibits. The Fair also funds scholarship grants for students attending Valencia Community College and the University of Florida's Institute of Agriculture and Food Science. Others recipients of donations from the Fair include the Orange County Sheriff's Task Force, the Orlando Police Department Explorers, a division of the Boy Scouts, and the West Orange High School Athletics Department.

Project is documented with text, six color photographs, and a Central Florida Fair magnet.

Originally submitted by: Bill McCollum, Representative (8th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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