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Broward County Fair: Rides, food and games, but no farm animals

The Broward County Fair is returning for the first time in five years, but don’t expect to see any chickens, sheep, goats or other livestock on the fairgrounds.

The fair opens Friday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, with roller coasters, cotton candy, games of chance, circus acts and some agriculture exhibits. However, live animals aren’t allowed.

“They’re not here this year, but we’re looking for that in years to come,” fair manager Harlan Bast said Monday.

The fair will have more than 75 rides, shows and attractions, Bast said. He’s hoping about 75,000 to 100,000 people will attend the 10-day fair, which runs Friday through Nov. 26 at the park on U.S. 1.

The last county fair was held in Pembroke Pines in 2012. Since then, Lauderhill and Pompano Beach officials have rejected attempts to set up the fair in their cities.

This year will be a homecoming for the fair, which was based at Gulfstream Park for several decades up to 1996.

The priority this year was to get the fair back on its feet, Bast said, with the intent of continuing to improve it in future years.

“This is going to go back to being an annual event,” Bast said. “I’m sure down the road we’ll do concerts and other things.”

The Broward County Farm Bureau is working with the fair to fill a 40-by-100-foot agricultural tent with exhibits, including those from local beekeepers, junior master gardeners, Future Farmers of America and the Florida Department of Agriculture. Farm Bureau President Fred Segal said there’s still room for other agriculture-related groups to participate. Interested groups can contact him at 954-849-0745.

Agriculture has changed over the years in Broward. The two main agricultural industries are horses and ornamental horticulture, such as landscape nurseries, Segal said. The average agricultural property in the county is on less than 5 acres, he said.

The county’s 4-H programs won’t be at the fair this year because they didn’t have enough notice. The Broward 4-H clubs are not focused on agriculture, but on topics such as marine and environmental science, forestry, robotics, cooking, sewing and archery.

Because the fair had disappeared, 4-H started its own Community Fair in March to make up for the loss, said Alexandra Draper, the county’s 4-H extension agent. Draper said the Community Fair being held at Delevoe Park will continue, but she expects her groups will participate in future county fairs.

The fair runs Nov. 17-26 at Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach. Admission is free to those under 26-inches tall, $6 for those 27-52 inches and $10 for people 53 inches tall and above. The fair is open 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays, 1 p.m. to midnight Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays and 5 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays. It is open 3 p.m. to midnight Thanksgiving Day.

lbarszewski@SunSentinel.com, 954-356-4556 or Twitter @lbarszewski

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