Fair Thee Well

Remember munching on turkey legs and elephant ears while waiting in line for the Doppel Looping? Remember trying to make out while spinning in the Gravitron? The Dade County Youth Fair was a rite of passage for kids the county over. Every spring, the fairgrounds at Tamiami Park became Disney World South, with rides, fair food, games, and carnies. But like the rest of us, the fair grew up. And we only wish we could age so gracefully. Youth is still served, but the fair, now known as the Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo, is in its 60th year. It stays true to its state fair origins with more than 100 rides and games — G-Force is the modern-day version of the Doppel Looping — 50,000 student exhibits, and farm animals. But now the fair’s fare is more varied. When it opens this Thursday at noon, the fair kicks off its Ultimate LIVE Experience with Latin Grammy winners Chino y Nacho at 9 p.m. The duo is one of a number of notable musical acts this year, including Paper Tongues (Friday), Natalie Grant (Sunday), and Luis Enrique (March 26). There will be a Food & Wine Live event March 31, with farm-to-table restaurants and chefs giving an organic cooking experience in fancy digs. Younger folks can also get sensory overload when FCW and WWE wrestlers bust heads March 25. Even those maladjusted kids who would rather play videogames than leave the house can enjoy some fun at “The Garage,” which houses the “Game-Hype System” with state-of-the-art videogames on flat-panel, high-def monitors.
March 17-April 3, noon, 2011