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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Animal encounters and more at the Coastal Empire Fair

Posted: November 3, 2011


By Anne Hart

Monkeys. A camel.A white tiger.Those are just a few of the attractions at the Brian Staples animal shows at the Coastal Empire Fair.
The annual fair, now in its 62nd year, runs today, Friday and through the weekend at the sprawling fairgrounds off Meding Street.
The event features the requisite carnival rides, traditional fair games and funnel-cake/corn dog fare. But one of the biggest draws are the free Brian Staples animal encounter shows and animal magic shows. Multiple shows are held each day through Sunday.
Brian Staples, founder of Staples Safari Animal Rescue, said he and his animals have been providing entertainment at the Coastal Empire Fair for 10 years.
“It’s like a family reunion every year with people who have been coming to the fair for years,’’ said Staples. “People remember when the show’s white tiger was a baby and they could pick the tiger up.”Now that “baby” tiger weighs 550 pounds. Staples emphasizes that his animal shows don’t involve circus tricks or goofy antics. Instead, the goal is to present an interactive show and let the audience see the animals doing the amazing things they do in the natural world, Staples said.
Different shows feature different animals.You might see a tarantula placed in a child’s hand. Or find yourself just a few feet away from a 15-foot snake, a monkey cracking nuts or a macaw flying.
Staples’ animal shows help him to rescues and house animals that could not have been returned to the wild. He and some of his animals have been featured on various TV shows including “The Tonight Show” last month, Animal Planet, The Discovery Network and the National Geographic channel. More information at staplessafari.com.
Other free entertainment at the fair include Rosaire’s Racing Pigs, 4-H livestock shows and more.

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