Thousands of the 305's most voracious thrill seekers will flock to the annual Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition — affectionately known as the Youth Fair or simply the Fair — to gorge on extreme carnival foods, test their limits on nearly 100 rides without puking, catch live concerts, and other activities that will overload the senses. Are you even a real Miamian if you've never been to the Fair, bro?
This year, you have one more reason to go: a nostalgic concert lineup on the Main Street Stage featuring TLC, Nelly, Ginuwine, with the Sugarhill Gang, and others for as little as $10.
"Basically, we wanted to bring different types of genres to the community, something for everyone," says Claudia Hernandez-Maltes, the Fair's director of marketing and entertainment. "We have regional Mexican for the first time; we have R&B, hip-hop, Christian... We also have Latin, of course, we have pop, a little bit of everything."
But this year's lineup seems especially suited to fans who grew up in the '90s and early '00s — people with fond memories of "riding that pony" with Ginuwine or who still have all the words to Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes' rap from "Waterfalls" memorized. The Youth Fair's 2018 concert series is on trend with the wave of nostalgia acts that have returned to South Florida again and again. In the past year alone, locals have seen Salt-N-Pepa, Smash Mouth, and Boyz II Men. This summer, Britney Spears will take the stage at the Hard Rock Event Center.
Soon a social media contest for each concert will give fans a chance to win two admission tickets to the Fair, a seat at the show, and a chance to meet and take a photo with the artists backstage.
"We work very hard to get good names and have a good lineup for people to enjoy. We’re going to be celebrating our 67th anniversary, so were very excited and we can’t wait for our opening day on March 15," Hernandez-Maltes says.
Other special events happening at the Fair include the fourth-annual Youth Fair Foodie Awards and Battle of DJs hosted by Miami's DJ Laz.
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If there's one thing that everyone can agree on in 2018, it's the love of nostalgia. Drunkenly belting out songs reminiscent of eras past at the Youth Fair is what we all need right now. Miami, leave the scrubs at home.
Here's the full concert lineup:
- Friday, March 16: La Adictiva Banda San José de Mesillas and La Maquinaria Norteña
- Saturday, March 17: Ginuwine and the Sugarhill Gang
- Saturday, March 24: Lecrae
- Saturday, March 31: Gente de Zona
- Friday, April 6: TLC
- Saturday, April 7: Nelly
Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition. March 15 through April 8, except March 19-20 and April 2-3, at 10901 SW 24th St., Miami; 305-223-7060; fairexpo.com. Youth Fair admission starts at $12 presale and $14 beginning March 15, and includes access to standing areas for concerts. Concert seat tickets cost $10 to $25.