Pensacola, Florida
Friday February 22nd 2019


You Just Have to Go to the Fair

By Kate Peterson

Corn dogs, rides, beer, funnel cakes and games galore. This year the Pensacola Interstate Fair has so much to offer everyone from the little to the big.

To add to the fun, Little Richard is headlining the fair and he is a true legend—someone to see. He put the funk in rock and roll.

The fair has 16 musical acts this year, and one scheduled character visit. IN talked to General Manager Don Frenkel about the musical events planned and all that the fair has in store for visitors this year. After all, their motto is: “Come for the Fun, Leave With the Memories.”

The Frenkel family started the fair over 78 years ago. Since then, the Frenkel brothers have risen through the ranks of management.

“We were raised and trained in the business,” Frenkel said.

Music is a big part of what the fair has to offer.

“I watched Little Richard on an awards show three years ago, he brought the crowd down, and I said to myself that he would be great for the fair,” Frenkel said. “He is an icon, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. It took me three years to get him here.”

Frenkel and team travel all over the country visiting other fairs to make the one in Pensacola even bigger and better. They have won blue ribbon awards for the quality of fair presented. Currently, out of the 48 state fairs, the Pensacola Interstate Fair is ranked number three. Other fairs are state funded; this one is privately funded and run, complete with a board of directors.

“The fair costs over two million to run each year, and 80 percent of that money stays in Pensacola,” Frenkel said. “We bring a lot of money to the city. This is an event that lasts 11 days, people stay in hotels here, they eat here and they shop here.”

Frenkel’s favorite part of the whole undertaking, “is sitting at the front gate and watching as the children and big kids come in, some for the first time, and watch their troubles melt away and worries go away looking forward to the fun.”

The Pensacola Interstate Fair starts on Thursday, Oct. 18 with Cat Country 98.7’s Catty-oke finals. The final judging will take place in front of a live crowd.
What time is it? Time to see a great show on Friday, Oct. 19. Legendary Morris Day and the Time will play some favorites such as “Jungle Love” and others. They are a funk and dance-pop  band formed in Minneapolis in 1981.

Country takes the stage on Saturday, Oct. 20 with The Lost Trailers and Love and Theft. The Lost Trailers are a country music duo of songwriter and producer Stokes Nielson with collaborator Jason Wyatt. Willie Nelson discovered Nielson’s first record, “The Story of the New Age Cowboy,” in the spring of 2000. Nelson was so impressed with the album that he invited them to perform at his legendary Fourth of July Picnic.

Love and Theft is a country music duo, composed of Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson. Both sing lead vocals and play guitar. Love and Theft made their chart debut in early 2009 with the single, “Runaway,” which reached the Top 10 on Billboard Hot Country Songs. In 2011, they signed to RCA Records Nashville, and released the single, “Angel Eyes,” which hit number one in August 2012.
Sunday, Oct. 21 has a wide variety of musical entertainment, Beulah Land South Band, a Southern Rock band from Beulah, Fla.; We’ve Got Talent – A Christian Vocal Contest; Felicia Johnson and Friends, vocal coach and Nashville recording artist; Chloe Channell, an 11-year-old who has opened for Rodney Atkins and Little Big Town; and Robert Wayne, singer-songwriter and Nashville recording artist from Navarre.

Hold on to your square pants, Monday, Oct. 22, Sponge Bob will be at the fair for a meet and greet. Who doesn’t want to meet him? We say take your favorite Sponge Bob item and get it signed.

The Farm takes the stage Tuesday, Oct. 23. The Farm, dubbed a hybrid act, are a trio deeply rooted in country music, which just happen to fold in sonic elements from a variety of popular music genres, but the core is built around a foundation of vocal harmony.

Fly By Radio is on deck for Wednesday, Oct. 24. They are a metal band from Birmingham, Ala., known for covering AC/DC, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses.

Thursday, Oct. 25 features country music singer and songwriter, James Wesley.

Red takes the stage on Friday, Oct. 26. A Christian rock band from Nashville, Tenn., who have garnered four studio albums and two Grammy award nominations for Best Rock Gospel Album.

The venerable rock piano great, Little Richard is featured Saturday, Oct. 27.

The last day of the fair will feature Momentum Worship, a worship group from Gulf Breeze, and the Dusty Sanderson Band, a country rock band from Pensacola.

The variety of things to do continues with specially priced days, military appreciation, buddy day, ladies day, Cox Cable bill day, senior citizen day, kid’s day, midnight madness, family-friendly trick-or-treat, family day, men’s day, livestock auction, Great American Frontier show, petting zoo, Wolf Packs of America show, Wild West and Trick Riding show…we really could go on and on.

Be sure to visit the Pensacola Interstate Fair this year for a heck of a good time.

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 18 through Sunday, Oct. 28
WHERE: Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds, 6655 W. Mobile Hwy.

COST: Varies depending on the day you are attending, be sure to check the schedule, music is included in admission