Get ready to indulge in all things fried, new rides and animals shows - the 64th annual Coastal Empire Fair opens Oct. 31 and runs through Nov. 10. The fair is hosted by The Exchange Club of Savannah. The event began as a fundraiser to support youth organizations and since 1950, the club has donated millions of dollars to various charities in the Coastal Empire. This year, the majority of the funds raised will benefit the Jenkins Boys Club.
Staples Safari Show will be on hand with exotic animals, educational shows, camel rides and of course, the ever popular Rosaire's racing pigs kicking up dust around the race track. For the first time in 20 years, the fair has partnered with a new group, Reithoffer Shows, which will bring more than 40 new rides, including a rollercoaster. The gates open Oct. 31 for Sneak-A-Peek night, which offers free admission and $1 hot dogs. On Nov. 1, Proudly We Serve night grants free admission for all military, police, fire and EMT personnel and their families. Regular admission is $7 and kids 5 and younger are admitted free. On Nov. 5, fair-goers can purchase a bracelet for an additional $10, which will give them unlimited access to the new rides.
"People had seen all of the rides, so we wanted to bring in some new ones," said fair president Chris Hafer. "Every few years, you need a change, and we wanted people to see the latest and the greatest."
Along with food, games and rides Hafer, said security is the main concern of fair organizers. Along with a mounted police presence on the weekends, police will also be setting up a command center and police towers.
"The new rides are a huge attraction, but safety is key. This is probably going to be the safest place to be in Savannah," Hafer said. "And of course, we'll have all the great fair food like funnel cakes and elephant ears, so we hope people just come out and enjoy the fair."