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North Florida Fair Celebrates 75 Years

North Florida Fair
Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 18:29:41-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- A beloved Tallahassee tradition turns 75 Thursday -- with the kickoff of the annual North Florida Fair.

Griffin Gillette will work as a vendor at the fair for the 28th year. His business Polar Bear Homemade Ice Cream makes over 325 different flavors.

"We started this fair doing barbecue, pizza and blooming onions, and we've transitioned over the years into being just homemade ice cream from scratch," Gillette said. "We're coming up on Halloween just passed, and then you have Thanksgiving, so everybody's kind of in a good mood, ready for the holidays."

Getting ready for this year's fair started right after last year's ended.

"Some form of preparation goes in almost every day," said Mark Harvey, executive director of the fairgrounds, "either booking new vendors, signing contracts with old vendors."

Over the past five years, the fair has set attendance records. To continue that trend, admission on opening night will be 75 cents to celebrate 75 years.

"It's a good way to come in, take a look around," Harvey said. "Costs very little money to do that, and I think people will really like what they see."

With more than 100,000 people expected to come to the fair, several people have voiced their concern about security. Harvey said safety has always been a top concern, and that won't change this year.

"The rides are safe, the grounds are safe," he said. "We have security that patrols the parking lots and inside. It's just not an issue."

New to the fair this year is the return of the circus, some new farm equipment and interesting food options.

"We have a kettlecorn ice cream which has a salty caramel in it," Gillette said. "It's got real corn nuts dipped in chocolate. It tastes like kettlecorn -- only in an ice cream."

Gates open at 5 p.m. Thursday. The fair runs until Sunday, November 13.