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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

County fair returns to Pinellas Park after 10-year hiatus

Photo by JULIANA A. TORRES

Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler cuts a ribbon to celebrate the April 1 opening of the Pinellas County Fair.

PINELLAS PARK – Sunny weather prevailed April 1 on what should have been the second day of the Pinellas County Fair. After the fair’s premiere was delayed by severe rain and wind March 31, the fair rides, games, food booths and attractions opened to the public the following evening. Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler gathered what few fair attendees were already milling through a still-muddy Town Square Plaza Park for a ribbon cutting to commemorate the opening. Atos Zamperla, also known as the Italian Rocket, punctuated the festivities by flying from a cannon into an inflated cushion.

After a short ceremony, Victoria Baird was crowned Miss Pinellas County Fair Model of the Year.

Tampa Models and Talent also held fair competitions for babies, a Little Miss and a Miss Teen. The fair, held behind Pinellas Park City Hall, was the first county-named fair in 10 years. Edward Toth, of the Sarasota-based United Circus Operating Company, first incorporated a company called the Pinellas County Fair in June 2010, according to state business records.

The fair had “licensing and permitting problems” that delayed the fair’s initial promotion, according to fair spokesman Frank Okroy.

If deemed successful, the fair could return annually, and a portion of the profits be designated to a scholarship fund.

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