South Florida Fair returns amid COVID concerns


The South Florida Fair returned at almost full-force in January after being severely scaled down last year due to COVID-19.

Every year since 1912, the South Florida Fair has rolled onto the South Florida Fairgrounds in mid-January. This 2022 theme for the Fair’s expo was “Rockin’ Robots” with robotic fights staged in the Expo Center. 

Because last year’s fair was an extremely scaled-down version because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Floridians were extremely excited to see the fair return to something close to a sense of normalcy this year. In 2021, Instead of the usual large, colorful carnival that South Floridians know and love, the Fair was downsized to mere kid-friendly rides and compact food stands.

The fair opened on Jan. 14, right on schedule with previous years. The fair usually has over 500,000 attendees per year and generates an income of over $100 million.

Of course, the events in the Expo Center weren’t the only things the fair had to offer. Many of the larger rides were able to return this year. While many old rides were able to return, the fair was still restricted compared to other years. “I thought the fair was boring this year,” said Olympic Heights sophomore Nick Gast. “It didn’t seem to have that much stuff as opposed to other years.”

Some fairgoers felt that the South Florida Fair did not do enough to keep attendees safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Although case numbers have dramatically decreased, people feel that safety restrictions should still be taken into consideration. OH sophomore Lillian Howard explained that she did not feel that the fair was safe, commenting that she didn’t really feel safe at the fair because “all the people were squished against each other in the lines, and they weren’t really following COVID rules.”

While masks and vaccines were strongly recommended, they were not required to enter the fairgrounds, as Florida state law forbids required facial coverings or proof of vaccinations. “I think the fair handled COVID restrictions very poorly,” Gast explained. “While some of the workers wore masks and such, a good 90 percent of them weren’t wearing masks. I would require all workers to wear a mask for maximum protection.” 

Now that the fair has come to a successful close, Floridians cannot wait for the fair to return at the beginning of 2023 because this year’s attendees had loads of fun, played games, and created fun memories with friends and family.