Broward County Fair drops Swap Shop plans

Broward County Fair officials: The fair will go on this year -- somewhere

Thinking of heading to the Broward County Fair this year? Don't ask for directions just yet.

Fair organizers have dropped plans to hold this year's event in a Swap Shop parking lot after running into resistance from Lauderhill officials who thought it might overwhelm city services.

With less than a month to go, fair officials are staying mum while finalizing the details for a new site.

"We still plan to have a fair," fair manager Hubert Bullard said Thursday.

The fair will stick to its planned Nov. 21-30 schedule.

"We don't feel comfortable yet in announcing the location because all the T's haven't been crossed," Bullard said. "It'll be a full fair. It'll have the livestock and the exhibits and the entertainment."

The fair's website, which still lists the Swap Shop location, will be updated, he said.

Fair organizers were forced to cancel last year's event because the Pembroke Pines site they had used for three years was no longer available.

Unlike the South Florida Fair in Palm Beach County, the Broward Fair doesn't have its own fairgrounds. It has set up its tents in at least a half-dozen locations over the past 38 years.

In 2009, the fair ended up in a Pompano Beach strip center parking lot with no carnival rides, no food and no games, just animals and student exhibits.

The fair most recently has been held at City Center in Pembroke Pines and before that at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium grounds.

The fair never finished its permit application in Lauderhill, with Bullard telling city officials it would be "an exercise in futility" because "it became abundantly clear" there was no interest in the fair on the city's part.

Despite the fair's earlier contacts with city staff, commissioners said they weren't aware of the fair's plans until residents who live near the Swap Shop complained about the potential noise and congestion at a commission meeting in September.

The nonprofit organization has asked Lauderhill to refund its $1,000 permit application fee, given that a complete application was never submitted.

City Manager Chuck Faranda said "that fee is clearly stated as non-refundable."

lbarszewski@tribpub.com or 954-356-4556

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