County fair offers treats for the senses - all of 'em

People ride the mat slides at the Alachua County Fair in Gainesville Sunday Oct. 20, 2013.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 7:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 7:35 p.m.

New attractions could be found alongside cherished classics, such as funnel cakes, tilt-a-whirls and fried Oreos, this weekend at the Alachua County Fair.


If you go:

The fair is at the Alachua County Fairgrounds, 3100 NE 39th St., through Oct. 26. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children between ages 6 and 12. The fair opens at 5 p.m. every day except for Friday and Saturday, when gates open at 2 p.m. Visit for more details.

The Wild About Monkeys exhibit came to the fair this year with a wide diversity of animals to showcase.

Trainer Kevin Keith fed grapes, carrots and monkey biscuits to two highly trained baboons in exchange for tricks and funny antics that made audience members giggle in their seats.

Both baboons, named Mickey and Dagney, have been featured in movies and commercials. In the show, Dagney played the role of the diva. Keith walked on stage with a baseball cap that said “BOSS,” and the two snatched the hat off of each other's heads repeatedly in a Three Stooges-like style.

Thirty-year-old Robin Oates raised her hand eagerly when Keith asked for an adult volunteer. Oates held a folded $1 bill out with one hand, and watched as a small bird named Chico flew from the stage and snatched it. Chico returned the dollar to Oates moments later.

Oates, who said it was her first time ever at a fair, admitted she wasn't sure what was going to happen when she volunteered.

“I was scared for the little girl sitting next to me. I didn't know if the monkey was going to run out or something,” she said.

A couple of booths down, children held out red Solo cups filled with grain to a collection of hoofstock and other farm animals.

Kim Massagee, owner of Massagee Family Farms in Archer, said the family brought the animals to the fair in an effort to raise money for the Archer Trailblazers 4-H Club.

Massagee said the crowds that filtered through the exhibit were laughing and excited as they pet all of the animals, but the two large goats seemed to be the favorites.

“We call them Thing One and Thing Two,” she said.

Dairy cattle pushed their wet noses against each other to sniff for potential food.

“They all got their own personality,” Massagee said.

While the majority of exhibits were put on by Belle City Amusements, several other booths were run by locals.

Warren Henderson sold homegrown boiled peanuts spiced with his own secret Cajun recipe.

Henderson said the fair scene was similar to last year.

“It's slow during the day, but as people leave out, you know, it gets a little better because people don't want to take peanuts on a ride,” he said. “Especially after they get nauseated and stuff like that.”

Henderson said he has been selling boiled peanuts for years. He said he sells them every Gator home game behind St. Augustine Church near West University Avenue and 18th Street.

“I just love doing boiled peanuts,” he said.

Family friendly attractions such as a fun house and super slide brought a range of ages out to the fair Sunday afternoon. The fair deemed Sunday Family Day and offered ride wristbands all day.

New deals will be happening every day this week. Midnight Madness, where all ages pay $20 for unlimited rides, will happen Friday night from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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