The South Florida fair is planning to bring its own version of Mardi Gras to life — complete with elaborate floats and daily parades, colorful beads and Louisiana-style entertainment and food — as it carries out a New Orleans theme for the 2017 fair, Jan. 13-29. The fair will continue its tradition of kicking off the night before, 5 to 10 p.m., Thurs., Jan. 12, with its popular Ride-A-Thon.
To prompt early online ticket sales, the fair is offering a limited “Power of Gold” promotion on Fri., Nov. 4, Sat., Nov. 5 and Sun., Nov. 6 only. Those who purchase fair tickets online at www.southfloridafair.com during this time period will receive a free Gold Access Pass, which has a value of up to $20. This free pass will allow guests to move to the front of any line at the rides on the day of their visit to the fair. Ride tickets are sold separately.
In addition to the usual fried fair food, there will be New Orleans cuisine, including fried catfish and boiled crawfish. Chef Landry, who hails from Louisiana, also will entertain audiences by bringing an interactive show of Cajun cooking, stories, jokes and authentic bayou cuisine.
The fair’s entertainment will include the legendary Dr. John, a six-time Grammy Award-winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Known throughout the world as the embodiment of New Orleans, Dr. John is a true icon in American culture. His blend of snaky rhythms, Crescent City funk, and voodoo flair make him one of the city’s prime musical ambassadors.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose name is derived from the venerable Preservation Hall, located in New Orleans’ French Quarter, will bring the unmistakable sound of the Crescent City, performing its vibrant, enthralling, and irresistibly danceable style of New Orleans Jazz.
A number of New Orleans-styled bands also will perform. The band, Crawdaddio, brings the spirit and rhythm of the bayou to life with its driving zydeco beat. Funky Gumbo, a zesty, good time jazz band, will lift the audience’s spirits with toe tapping streetbeats, familiar swing tunes, and New Orleans rhythm and blues. The Jazz Phools are devoted to the energetic performance of hot jazz of the 1920s and 1930s, Dixieland classics, and New Orleans second line jazz — all delivered with vintage flair. The Orlando-based band, The Porchdogs, has been known as “Florida’s Mardi Gras Band” since 1992. They specialize in Louisiana Cajun and zydeco, two styles of music that developed in southern Louisiana among the Cajun and Creole people.
Additional entertainment will include professional singers who will impersonate B.B. King, Harry Connick Jr., Fats Domino, Louis Amstrong and Irma Thomas.
Multiple ice skating shows themed “New Orleans on Ice” will take place daily and the fair will set up a replica of historic Jackson Square, one of the most popular attractions in New Orleans’ French Quarter, where local artists create artwork and show their work on the square’s iron fence while visitors enjoy nearby merchants, museums and restaurants.
Ghost tours will be conducted in Yesteryear Village every night at 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and at 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday for an additional $10, which will include walking quietly through two on site houses and the bait and tackle shop where guests will hear stories about fishing accidents and New Orleans swamp stories. Perhaps they’ll even spot or hear a ghost weighing in!
The fair’s adult admission, 12 and older, is $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. A child’s admission, under 12, is $5 in advance and $8 at the gate (5 years and younger are free). Those who are 60 years of age and older pay $7 in advance and $9 at the gate.
Tickets will be available at Palm Beach County Publix supermarkets beginning November 12 and online advance discount ticket sales will continue through Jan. 12 at midnight. Bud’s Chicken & Seafood and Palm Beach County BB&T Bank branches also will sell advance discount tickets beginning December 2.
Tickets for the Ride-A-Thon are $20 and $15 with a coupon, which will be available at the South Florida Fair’s booth during local community events and on the fair’s website, www.southfloridafair.com, starting Jan. 6.
The South Florida Fair is produced by the South Florida Fair/Palm Beach County
Expositions, Inc., a nonprofit organization, and is located at 9067 Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach. The 2017 dates are Jan. 13-29. For more information, call (561) 793-0333 or visit the website, www.southfloridafair.com.