Fairs & Festivals


MANATEE -- Brightly colored carts owned by the fair food vendors began pulling into the Manatee County Fairgrounds in Palmetto on Friday.

The owners of New York Style Pizza and Barbie’s Original Ice Cream began setting up near the midway for the 2011 Manatee County Fair, which runs Thursday through Jan. 23 at 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto.

“We’ve been coming for 40 years,” said Art Pokorny, co-owner of B. Wilson Enterprises, with his wife, Barbara, who is a second-generation food fair vendor from Ruskin.

The 2011 Fair will be packed as usual with entertainment, rides and food, including the Pokornys’ from-scratch pizza and soft-serve ice cream.

The Band Perry, an up-and-coming country band, is one of the headline acts of this year’s fair. They are joined by Pirates of the Colombia Caribbean, Mikeschair, Darryl Worley, Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe and Paul Williams of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Jaron and The Long Road to Love, T.G. Sheppard, Steve the Pretty Good and Ricky Braddy, among others.

Fair tickets for adults age 13 and older are $7 with seniors 55-and-up attending for $6 and children six to 12 attending for $5. Children age 5 and younger attend for free.

A one-day “mega pass” providing unlimited rides and free admission is $20 and available only at Walgreens until Friday .

Fair food vendors like Pokorny say their industry has stayed strong because people are staying put these days and taking “stay-cations” at home.

“We’re doing well be- cause fairs are doing well,” said Pokorny, who works fairs in Florida, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina 10 months out of the year with his wife and Ruskin crew, then takes two months off.

“People are staying closer to home and supporting their local events.”

For more information, call the fair information line at 722-8951 or visit www. manateecountyfair.com.