FOOD, FERRIS WHEELS AND FUN, STEP RIGHT UP!
Written by: Ava Grace
The Pensacola Interstate Fair since the 1930s has entertained us with great food, thrilling rides, top entertainment, amazing exhibits and agricultural shows. “There is nothing like a fair,” says Dondi Frenkel, concessions and public relations manager.
What began as a small collection of local farmers and educators has become one of the most cherished and exciting events on Florida’s Gulf coast, drawing more than 200,000 visitors over 11 days. In fact, the 170-acre Pensacola Interstate Fair is one of the top 50 in the country, according to those tracking such numbers.
And much of the Pensacola Interstate Fair is free with admission. Its most remarkable tradition focuses
on education and livestock. “Every year,” says Frenkel, “we encourage students to come and participate in the fair, which earns them an opportunity to receive a scholarship. Our livestock program is one of our proudest achievements, culminating each year with a steer auction. Dozens of young children work year-round to care for and raise steers to be auctioned in October. Proceeds go directly to the young people who have worked and sacrificed so much while learning responsibility.”
The younger ones can have fun participating in AG-Venture, a free hands-on educational program designed to teach the importance of agriculture and where food comes from. They can participate in activities such as learning to make butter and collecting eggs from the chicken coop.
THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A FAIR.
—Dondi Frenkel, Pensacola Interstate Fair
There are also 25 exhibit categories and over 700
participants each year, from 4-H, FFA, poultry,
photography, custom cars, school art, beekeeping, gem and
minerals, woodcarving, antiques and hobby exhibits spread
out over four air-conditioned buildings so that guests get a
chance to browse leisurely and comfortably.
Those who enjoy soaring to great heights on Ferris wheels,
spinning in circles on a bumper car, or going upside down of
a rollercoaster will be delighted with the 60 rides and games
provided by Reithoffer Shows, a family owned provider of
midway rides, games and food.
Of course, there are plenty of chances to win a stuffed bear
or inflatable dinosaur and enjoy corn dogs, cotton candy
and deep-fried tacos amongst the flashing neon lights and
carnival barkers inviting guests to Step Right Up! “We are
proud to say that the fair provides a giant boost for our
local Pensacola economy,” says Frenkel.
The Pensacola Interstate Fair generates over 300 jobs. Plus,
vendors and carnival workers buy supplies, shop, dine and
enjoy themselves in the surrounding community.
And local hotels, restaurants and the tourism industry
boom during the fair. “The Pensacola Interstate Fair is a
one-of-a-kind experience that brings our community and
surrounding visitors together to enjoy the best that life has
to offer!” says Frenkel. FCM