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Twelve-year-old Molly Lofthouse cares for September, whom Molly will show at the Manatee County Fair, which starts Jan. 16.
East County Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 3 years ago

Manatee County Fair swings into action

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

EAST COUNTY — Nolan Middle School student Savanah Freitag is not new to the show ring, but this year is different.

As she steps into the arena at the Manatee County Fair, she will be showing her own cow, Moo Moo, which she rented from Dakin Dairy, rather than her school’s chapter cow.

“My sister did the chapter cow and then her own cow,” 12-year-old Savanah said. “I wanted to do my own cow since.

“I always love the fair,” she said. “I like (competing with) dairy. It’s what I’ve been waiting for ever since I got (Moo Moo) here in October.”

Savanah and other youth throughout the East County and Manatee County are busy preparing animals to show in the Manatee County Fair, which runs Jan. 16 through Jan. 26, at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto. Cost and times for admission and the midway vary. (See sidebar.)

This year’s theme of “Celebrating the Great Outdoors” will come to life with longtime favorites, such as Ed & Geraldine Old-Time Music, as well as newer activities, including catch-and-release trout fishing, story time around a campfire and more.

“We’ve tried to gear as much of our entertainment as we can to that,” Fair Manager Dan West said. “We’ve got the grizzly bear show, the Paul Bunyan Lumber Jack show — they will be here the entire run of the fair.”

This year’s musical selection includes performances by country music legend Marty Stuart, as well as the up-and-coming band, The Henningsens. Well-known Christian artists Building 429 and Mikeschair also will perform.

West also said safety is a No. 1 priority at the fair, and fair officials work with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, emergency medical services, hired security and others to ensure the fairgrounds remain safe.

“We want everyone to feel safe when they come here,” West said. “It’s a really safe grounds during the fair.”

West also called the event a grassroots effort and said volunteers contribute hundreds of hours to help ensure the event is successful each year.

“Without everybody’s help, we couldn’t do it,” he said.

For more information on the Manatee County Fair, as well as special pricing days, visit

Manatee County Fair

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Jan. 16, Jan. 17, Jan. 21, Jan. 23 and Jan. 24; noon to 10 p.m. Jan. 18 through Jan. 20, Jan. 22 and Jan. 25; and noon to 7 p.m. Jan. 26

Admission: $8 for adults (ages 13 and up); $5 for children (6 to 12 years old); $7 for seniors (ages 55 and up); $5 for military, with I.D.; and free for children ages 5 and younger

Special nights: Jan. 18: Tropicana Day; Jan. 20: AutoWay Ford Kids Day; Jan. 21: Building Stronger Communities Day (free gate admission); and Jan. 22: Senior Day ($5 admission for ages 55 and up)

Thursday, Jan. 16: Swine show

Friday, Jan. 17: Dairy show and rabbit showmanship; music by The Henningsens

Saturday, Jan. 18: Barbecue contest judging; plant sale

Sunday, Jan. 19: Little Miss and Mini Miss Manatee County Fair Pageant and 13th annual Baby Contest (10 a.m.); music by The Ben Davis Project and Building 429

Monday, Jan. 20: Cheerleading competition

Tuesday, Jan. 21: Goat show; music by Mikeschair

Wednesday, Jan. 22: Steer showmanship show

Thursday, Jan. 23: Steer show; music by Alter Eagles

Friday, Jan. 24: Beef breeding and showmanship show; music by Marty Stuart

Saturday, Jan. 25: Steer sale

Sunday, Jan. 26: Horse show

*Daily festivities include shows such as the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, the Sweeney Family Band, trout fishing, the Grizzly Experience, Ed & Geraldine Old-Time Music, Show-Me Safari Pig Races and more. For a complete listing, visit

County conveys fair property
The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners voted Jan. 7 to convey property to the Manatee County Fair Association. Fair Manager Dan West said the deal returns land the fair association originally owned.

The handover will allow the fair association to move forward with longterm improvements, such as building out its exhibit hall (adding air conditioning and bathrooms, among other improvements) and adding power supplies to accommodate more vendors, for example, West said.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].


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